Hocomonco Pond committee unveils proposal for walking trails


Hocomonco Pond committee unveils proposal for walking trails
A view of Hocomonco Pond from the sky. (Photo/Tami White)

WESTBOROUGH – A one-time Superfund site at Hocomonco Pond may become part of a network of walking trails.

Mark Silverberg, the Planning Board’s representative on the Hocomonco Pond Reuse Committee, presented the proposal at the Planning Board and Select Board meetings during the week of March 13.

After decades of use as a processing plant for creosote, asphalt and concrete, the area was declared a Superfund site in the 1980s. After extensive cleanup, the site was returned to the town in 2019.

The southern side of the pond has a trail maintained by the Westborough Community Land Trust. The proposal would build connector trails near the shoreline.

The fence that surrounds the area will remain; access points would be created for trail access. An additional fence would surround the areas where hazardous waste has been buried.

“The fence is going to be the big expense,” said Silverberg. “This is the bare minimum we need to get this open to the public.”

Planning Board members discussed parking, especially along Smith Parkway and the MBTA commuter rail station. According to Silverberg, no additional parking is being proposed.

A building on the pond, close to the Otis Street side, is in the early stages of being converted into a regional dispatch center.

Article 16

The committee is sponsoring Article 16 in this year’s Town Meeting warrant. It is a request for $30,820 from free cash to create bid documents.

At its March 9 meeting, the committee voted 5-3 to move forward with the article, with Shelby Marshall voting against.

Marshall, the Select Board’s member on the reuse committee, said she “fully supports” a plan to open the site to passive recreation, but she added that the committee should explore “other opportunities,” such as a possible grant for technical assistance offered by the University of Connecticut, to make sure the site is completely safe.

“I feel the technical assistance could give us more guidance,” she said.

She added that UConn would conduct a full site assessment should the grant application be approved.

Marshall also pointed out that the grant for the regional dispatch center will not be announced until June, and there’s still no idea what the grant would pay for.

Marshall would like to wait until fall Town Meeting in order to explore these opportunities.

The Select Board decided to hold off on its vote on Article 16 until members receive more information. The re-use committee is scheduled to meet this afternoon. According to their agenda, the committee will discuss and vote as needed on the article.


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