By Laura Hayes, Senior community reporter
NORTHBOROUGH – Construction of the Assabet Park improvements will begin on September 20.
Northborough Director of Public Works Scott Charpentier broke the news at a meeting of the Parks and Recreation Commission on September 7, saying the construction contract had been awarded.
“After September 20, the playing field will be closed,” Charpentier said. “It will be under the control of the contractor.”
The Assabet Park playground is over 20 years old, recreation director Allison Lane noted in an email to the community lawyer.
“It’s not accessible to the ADA, and we decided we needed to put one that is user-friendly for everyone,” Lane said.
Between allocations from the community preservation committee and funding from the city, Northborough raised money to build a new playground.
The project will soon begin with site work, which Charpentier says will include grading and demolition. Then the new play equipment will be installed. The city already has this equipment and has it stored in the premises of the DPW.
Once the equipment is installed, a safe rubberized playing surface will be cast.
Charpentier is hopeful that the rubberized playing surface will be cast this year, although he added that it depends on the weather.
The pickleball field is advancing
Beyond Assabet Park, Northborough is also moving forward with work on six new pickleball courts at Ellsworth McAfee Park.
Town Meeting voters backed an article earlier this year to use Community Preservation Act funds to build pickleball fields.
Charpentier said the funds became available on July 1.
Since then, the town has called on a landscape architect to survey the land. Charpentier said the process has since been completed.
“We are now in the conceptual layout phase,” he said.
According to the draft plans Lane shared with the Community Advocate, the six pickleball courts would be located southwest of the park parking lot along South Street.
Lane told the Community Advocate that local pickleball players have been playing outside Northborough for years.
“We tried to find a location and the money to build outdoor courts,” Lane said.
Charpentier said there are some things that still need to be considered, such as the size of the facility and its positioning to ensure the courts are accessible by the ADA. The city will also work with landscape architects to help maintain existing vegetation in the area.
Charpentier said the city also needed to help locate the work on the courts “so that while construction will take place next spring, it doesn’t hamper the use of the facility.”
According to Charpentier, the goal is to move forward with the land design this fall, bid on the project in the winter, and begin construction in the spring.
“Scott and I are very excited about both projects,” Lane said. “We are very invested in Northborough and are committed to making the best parks in the region.”