[Ed note: My Southborough accepts signed letters to the editor submitted by Southborough residents. Letters may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.]
To the Editor:
The Southborough community is looking forward to the opening of the newly-renovated Harold E. Fay Memorial Park this weekend. The long list of volunteers and financial contributors will be duly recognized at this weekend’s Grand Opening.
We should also remember the many town volunteers, town officials and local businesses who renovated the Park in 1998-1999. The Park was identified as a priority in the Recreation Master Plan by the then Recreation Facilities Committee, ad hoc. The Park had long been neglected and was in need of a major overhaul.
For example, the brush on the west (Reservoir) side of the Park was so overgrown, that it literally crushed the fence that separates DCR property from town property. Three local landscaping firms each cleared a 100 yard section of the brush along the fence line adding a ¼ acre of new space, a significant addition to the 2 acre Park. It also created a terrific view of the Reservoir, especially from the newly-installed Pavilion.
The foundation and footings of the pavilion were installed by local contractor Bill Picardi. The roof of the pavilion was installed by students from Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School. The roof of the pavilion may have been crushed by the storm (tornado?) but the sturdy foundation remains and is being reused for the new pavilion.
The walking path that circumvents the Park was constructed by Curtiss Landscaping; the new backstop and improvements to the infield were paid for by Southborough Youth Baseball. The basketball court was repainted and new baskets were added.
Last, but certainly not least, please remember the 90 local residents who installed the playground equipment over a very cold and wet weekend in October, 1998. Domino’s Pizza of Southborough contributed the necessary food throughout the weekend, served by Girl Scout Troop 2780 and Cub Scouts of Den 4, Pack 26. Kindergroup coordinated the volunteers. The Steeple Coffee House provided the much-needed coffee throughout the weekend. Karen Challen was a constant “presence” throughout the weekend, passing out hats, gloves and cleaning up packing materials.
It was an amazing accomplishment of which I am often reminded by many of the participants. “Remember how cold it was?” and “But we got it done!” It was simply one of those “you had to be there” community events.
Many of the volunteers returned in the spring to spread the mulch around the playground equipment and plant the beautiful perennials, donated by Capasso Farms and Weston Nurseries, around the pavilion and picnic areas. When the burning bushes along the north fence turn brilliant crimson this fall, think of Shrubs and Trees on Route 9.
The two beautiful hand-carved signs installed at either end of the Park were also donated. As a humorous aside, former Chief of Police Will Colleary used his connections in the law enforcement community to track down one of the signs, which had been stolen as part of a college fraternity prank.
The Park was rededicated on Memorial Day, 1999, and members of the very grateful Fay Family were in attendance. A member of the Fay Family provided some sobering details about Harold Fay’s WWII service. A member of General George Patton’s famous Third Army, Corporal Fay’s tank was struck by German artillery fire and he suffered a grievous leg wound. He died before medical assistance could save him. Harold E. Fay was the first Southborough resident to make the supreme sacrifice during WWII.
Town Meeting approved $10,000 to pay for the playground equipment. Everything else was donated with in kind services and donations. The Community Preservation Act had yet to be enacted. It has been estimated that the total value of the project was well in excess of $100,000.
Two great projects, one in 1999 and another in 2018, nearly 20 years later. With so many issues dividing our Town, it is nice to remember what can be accomplished when we all pull together for a common cause.
Former member, Recreation Facilities Committee, ad hoc