, Newburyport, MA

October 23, 2012

Parks in need of some facelifts

Report details what needs to be repaired

Newburyport Daily News

---- — NEWBURYPORT - City councilors tonight are scheduled to receive a report on the condition of recreation venues here, but it appears that taking action on all possible improvements will not be any “walk in the park.”

A report titled “Fall 2012 parks inspection” will be part of the regular agenda of the council.

It is not a document containing criticism but it does offer numerous examples about how parks can be improved or made safer. After noting areas of need in the city’s 17 recreational sites, the report outlines repairs and upgrades that could cost close to $175,000.

The report notes that funds from state and/or private institutions could help defray expenses should municipal leaders decide to make improvements, so the figure is not considered finite.

The report was submitted by Lise Reid, parks administrator, who wrote, “Inspections are performed twice a year, ideally in the spring and fall. I assess safety concerns and issues with general upkeep and park appearance.

“Considerations include protective play surfacing, condition of play equipment, benches and other equipment, assessment of play hazards such as tripping and falling hazards, and general park maintenance.”

The report makes numerous suggestions, and also notes progress that has been made in implementing upgrades.

The following parks, and some safety issues associated with them, were among those mentioned in the report:

Atkinson common, “tennis courts in poor condition, piles of brush present fire hazard.”

Atwood Park, “chair link fence rusted and detached, ditch and cracks in the tennis court area.”

Ayers Playground, “spring-mounted horse and cycle have broken seats creating sharp edges, park needs wood fiber safety surfacing to raise grade for safety and handicap access.”

Bartlet Mall, “dock steps broken, several street lights are out, stair railing from Auburn Street to pond is broken.”

Cashman Park, “granite benches unstable due to erosion, walkway from Merrimac Street to river is badly cracked.”

Clipper Rail Trail, “overgrown brush on either side of Parker Street causing safety hazard for pedestrian crossing.”

Jason Sawyer Playground, “rubber mat near entrance is turned up, is a tripping hazard, need more sand under swings, wiggle ladder missing from central climber.”

Joppa Park, sink holes in walkway by seawall, walkway needs to be replaced.

March’s Hill, “stair landings falling apart, stairs a hazard.”

Moseley Woods, “needs mulch around play structures.”

Perkins Park, “sandbox needs repair, wood is old and splintering, playground needs additional mulch.”

Woodman Park,” kiddie swing not secure, should be cemented into place, swing seat broken, handles on play structures need tightening.”

The report noted that repairs and cosmetic enhancements can be done on almost all community parks.

Also, several expensive projects were mentioned but not under “safety issues.”

For instance, it was stated that the three tennis courts at Atkinson Common need resurfacing, at a cost of about $30,000.

There was also an item “rehab or remove Jason Sawyer pavilion,” at a cost of about $10,000.

And work near the boat ramp at Joppa Park needs to be revamped, at a cost that could approach $60,000.

But funding appears to depend upon the situation. State officials, for instance, have said they are committed to upgrading the facilities at Joppa Park.

The report suggests that areas of improvement have been identified, and actual improvements will be considered by municipal leaders in coming months.