OBA’s Gateway Park shaping up as a community gem
A handsome post-and-beam pavilion will be one of the crowning touches to a gateway park being built in the area of Oxford Center by the Oxford Business Association.
By ROD LEE
A narrow, deep piece of land just east of the main traffic light in Oxford Center isn’t attracting a whole lot of attention yet, but it will soon, Daniel M. “Dan” Prouty of the Oxford Business Association says.
Mr. Prouty and other members of the OBA are in the process of transforming the parcel into a “gateway park.”
“We want it to be welcoming to people coming into Oxford,” Mr. Prouty said on November 16th. Extensive work that has involved grading, plantings, fencing, paving, and construction of a post-and-beam pavilion over the past several months, is nearing completion.
Gateway Park, as the site has been unofficially dubbed, will be turned over to the municipality in the spring, subject to approval on the Town Meeting warrant.
The Oxford Business Association maintains a fairly low profile and its principal members are getting up there in years, but the OBA’s contributions to betterment of the community are significant.
“Some of our guys are working on a rail trail with the conservation agent, next,” Mr. Prouty said, noting that “there is a lot of money available for rail trails,” which have grown in popularity.
Recently, motorists passing by the park could see all of the labor that has gone into the project already. Hundreds of flower bulbs—daffodil, tulip, crocus and hyacinth—were planted by members of Boy Scout Troop 147 and volunteers with two hundred more to go. Attractive fencing was installed. Landscaping was done. A split-rail fence running parallel to the parking lot is in the offing. The “true post-and-beam pavilion” has been finished with “the average age of the people working on it being seventy-one,” Mr. Prouty said.
“Good weather and my volunteer craftsmen showed up and we finished our task at hand which was to plank the post-and-beam pavilion roof and touch up the stain,” Mr. Prouty said on November 10th. “New England Metal Roofing is donating the finished roof. We have some more plantings and fence work next week and (will) have everything waiting for spring.”
A Christmas tree will be set up soon.
Still to be added are benches.
“A couple of us went out to Old Sturbridge Village to look at what they have there for benches,” he said. “I’d like to do millstone instead of metal.”
All of the comment Mr. Prouty and his colleagues have received since summer “has been positive,” he said. “’That looks pretty good,’” people have been saying, since the paving got done.
Mr. Prouty is working on a thank-you list to acknowledge the many individuals and businesses that have contributed monetarily or with in-kind assistance. The project received an infusion of $60,000 toward an approximately total cost of $120,000-$135,000 from the Cecelia J. Smolenski/Millette Charitable Trusts, an organization that provides grant dollars for projects and programs that promote and foster recreational and literary opportunities and activities for children in Oxford.
Previous projects funded in whole or part by the Trusts include the Splash Pad, the NJROTC program at Oxford High School, the library pass program, the skate park, activities at Joslin Park, the Greenbriar osprey camera, playground equipment, upgrades to the Little League concession stand, and activities at the Community Center.
“We are almost there,” Mr. Prouty said on November 16th.
“They’ll be calling this ‘park city.’”
Contact Rod Lee at [email protected] or 774-232-2999.