Saturday, October 22, 2022

Marble Farm Park, Maynard, MA - Groundbreaking Event

On the morning of October 17th, a modest audience attended a groundbreaking event celebrating the creation of a new town park and historic site. Funding for the project comes from a grant by the Community Preservation Committee, which supports open space and historic preservation efforts. The work, to start this fall, will be done by Belko Landscaping LLC, of Salem, NH.

In the early 1700s, the Marble family moved from Andover to land that is now adjacent to the Assabet River Rail Trail, on the north side of town. The family’s descendants lived there until 1919; the house burned down to the foundation in 1924. In time, the land was seized by the town for non-payment of property taxes.

The location is just north of Rockland Avenue and across from Christmas Motors. The site, approximately two-thirds of an acre, encompasses the basement stone walls of the foundation of the house, two lawns, several stone walls, and an extensive planting of daffodils that began in 2018, courtesy of a project called Trail of Flowers (www.trailofflowers.com).

From left to right, Natalie Robert (Planning Board), Sam Webb (resident at the nearby Marble Farm Road development), D.J. Chagnon (CBA Landscape Architects), David Mark (Maynard historian and Trail of Flowers founder), John Dwyer and Ellen Duggan (Community Preservation Committee), Paul Boothroyd (Maynard historian and author), and Justine St. John (Select Board member), all posed with a motley collection of shovels and pickaxes.

An initial clearing of the site was performed in the spring of 2009 by Maynard’s Boy Scout Troop 130 as an Eagle Scout project led by Jason Shomacker. Volunteers from ARRT and TOF did some site improvement starting in 2018, including creating the lawns. Going forward, creation of the park will include erecting a steel fence around the foundation, and removal of more than a dozen dead trees, two large brush piles, a deteriorating pump house building and a crumbling brick entranceway. All of these actions address site safety issues.

Initial plan led to bids well over budget, so the project was
reduced to essential for safety, with nice-to-have left to a pos-
sible second proposal to Community Preservation Committee
Gregory Johnson, Maynard Town Administrator, led off the event with a mention that town resident David Mark was instrumental in getting volunteers to do initial site improvements, and then submitting a proposal to the Community Preservation Committee. Select Board member Justine St. John added how this becomes a third town ‘pocket’ park on the Rail Trail, joining Tobin Park by the Assabet River bridge, and Ice House Landing. David Mark spoke to the old and recent history of the site. John Dwyer explained CPC’s involvement of seeing the process through from proposal to accepted bid. D.J. Chagnon from CBA Landscape Architects LLC added a few words about the evolution from initial plan to the formal project description, with its prioritization of site safety. 

A construction start date has not yet been set, but is expected to be early November.

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