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Neighbors Object to Plans for Park Behind the New Police Station

The plans call for a multi-use court and a spray park at the former Browne School playground, along with a kids play structure and picnic area.

An architect revealed the latest plans for the renovation of the park behind the new Police Station to the Town Council Tuesday night, and neighbors were not happy with what they heard.

The park at 552 Main Street used to be the playing fields at Browne School, but have been turned into a park since the Police Station was built in the site of the former school.

The field at the park is used for T-ball games, and that will continue. The plans also call for a kiddie playground, or tot-lot, a spray park and a paved court, which can be used for a number of sports, said Glen Howard, of CDM Smith design firm.

“Courts were eliminated and a play structure was eliminated as part of the construction of the Police Station,” Howard said.

Along with the new court and play area, there will be a picnic area with a gazebo, a path to let people stroll through the park and the spray park.

“The 400 square-foot spray park would be foot activated, with three different areas with spray (equipment),” Howard said.

The estimated cost of the project is $454,500, with $100,000 coming from the play area and $80,000 from the spray park.

Town Manager Michael Driscoll said he would seek to borrow $200,000 for the 552 Main Street project and get the rest from the town’s capital budget.

Recreation Department Director Peter Centola said he would like to complete the renovations of the park in 2012.

While the park is named 552 Main Street, it lies along Acton Street and behind homes on Puritan and Jensen Roads.

Neighbors wanted to see some improvements, but not to this extent.

“There is not a lot of objection to the tot-lot, it is to the court area,” said Genevieve Jones, a Jensen Road resident.

The area behind the Police Station is filled with small, residential streets, said Puritan Road resident Candi Aulenbach, but the park seems to be designed for others.

“It should be for couples, singles and families to come out and enjoy,” Aulenbach said. “It should not be for teens to come and park to play on the courts.”

Virginia Rice, who lives on Acton Street, said the town already had a park with basketball courts in the area.

“It is two blocks from Bemis (Park), which has basketball courts and other structured areas,” Rice said.

Residents are also concerned about parking at the park. No new lots are planned for the area, Centola said.

The three women said they came to meetings about 552 Main St. but they don’t see their input incorporated into the new designs.

The Town Council took no action on the plans, and the project must still be approved.

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