City officials are winding down the planning process on Quigley Park and will unveil the plans officially tonight, July 24, at a public meeting in City Hall.
While Quigley Park isn’t the oldest park in the City, it is one of the most heavily used neighborhood parks in all of Chelsea.
City Planner Ryan Lundergan said that is one reason the City chose to compete for a state matching grant to improve the park.
Long story short, the City won a $200,000 grant from the state’s Our Community’s Backyards program and will throw in another $50,000 to make the budget a quarter of a million dollars for the park.
“The state’s goal is to build a new park or renovate an existing park in every community by the end of this year,” said Lundergan. “Because of the heavy use of this park, we are looking to renovate a lot of the pieces that have broken or have worn down over the years. It’s not one of the oldest parks, but it’s so heavily used that the equipment in the park and the water features break down at a much faster rate.”
Included in the renovation will be a newly renovated spray feature, a new playground structure and the replacement of an underutilized baseball batting cage on the Shurtleff Street side.
“We’re looking at taking that cage down and putting in a grassy area there that would be used for passive or semi-active recreation,” he said.
That grassy area is still a bit of a question mark, though. City officials would like to put in field turf on that part of the park due to the fact that it lasts longer, doesn’t die and requires virtually no maintenance.
The flip side is that it’s expensive to install.
“Right now the plans are about 90 percent completed and it’s up in the air whether we will be able to afford that,” he said. “That $250,000 only goes so far when you’re having to replace spray features and other playground equipment. It’s quite possible it could end up being grass and maintained by the DPW.”
The view – which is quite possibly one of the best views in all of Chelsea – will not be touched. Lundergan said they were very conscious of the view and kept that in mind when planning new shade trees.
Being that the park is heavily used, the City will not move in for construction until the end of the summer when kids are in school.
“Our plans for this now is to avoid and construction during the heavily used months,” he said. “There’s a lunch program daily at the park and we didn’t want to shut down a spray feature during a heat wave. ONce the kids go back to school, we’ll start construction.”
Due to the nature of the state grant, the park is on an accelerated schedule and is expected to be completed before the end of 2014.
The public meeting tonight, July 24, will be at 6:30 p.m. in City Hall and will be informational in nature.