ADAMS, Mass. — The proposed design for the Town Common rehabilitation project was presented on Tuesday night at a public meeting.
Becky Ferguson of the town's Community Development Office and Tighe & Bond engineer Brandee Nelson facilitated the meeting at Town Hall to go over the proposed design of the park overhaul as well as solicit input and field questions from the public.
"We have been working to make renovations to the Town Common," Ferguson said. "We wanted to have a meeting to present these plans to the community and get some feedback and answer any questions about the town common."
The Suffrage Centennial Celebration Committee was created more than two years ago to organize a yearlong celebration in 2020 to mark the 100th anniversary of the passing the 19th Amendment that gave women the right to vote and the 200th birthday of civil rights activist Susan B. Anthony, who was born in the family homestead on East Road.
Plans include a parade, a festival and the bronze statue that will depict both the adult Anthony and her as a child that sculptor Brian Hanlon was hired to create.
The committee chose to place the statue on the Town Common but committee members and town officials thought the public park needed to be updated and renovated.
"The bricks have settled very dramatically and the perimeter sidewalk ... has also settled," Nelson said. "With regulations currently placed around handicapped accessibility, the park is no longer meeting those standards."
Nelson gave a quick overview and compared the original 1985 plans to the new ones. She said the area is three-quarters of an acre so larger changes have been minimal.
"There is not a ton of space for use to make any dramatic changes so we have tried to be really subtle in the proposed changes," she said.
One change, however, is the interior circulation of the park to a more triangular shape and the gazebo will be moved to the upper-most portion of the park.
Nelson said the gazebo will be replaced with a period appropriate structure to Anthony's lifetime -- hopefully a metal one. It will be ADA compliant and will have electricity.
The statue itself will be placed on a plaza off Center Street with seating around it.
The plans also include a new tree to be used as the town's holiday tree
"We would typically install it at the 10- to 12-foot height range," she said. "It will be somewhere where it can grow into. You want to be able to get 25 years or so out of it."
Nelson said the plan is to remove some grown interior trees and open up the middle of the park so it is a more inviting gathering area.
"The possibilities of a big lawn where people can have events, any kind of community programming," she said. "Having a big lawn space and removing some of those interior trees it will be drier, too. It is a little dark and damp there now."
She said they hope to make the main entrance at the intersection of Commercial and Center Street and open this area up.
"We are looking at making a more dramatic entry point into the park," she said. "It would have more of a boulevard style where we could put signs and planters. We want to invite people into the park to see the open green space."
Nelson said they do plan to enhance the buffer between the McDonald's fast-food restaurant and the park and eliminate the pathway connecting the McDonald's parking lot to the park.
"It is a strange pedestrian movement through the parking lot of McDonald's that really isn't safe," she said.
Nelson said they do plan to reuse the perimeter fence and clean up the trees. She said lighting will be reused and there will be new benches, picnic tables, and other sitting areas throughout the park.
Comments were generally positive with only one resident opposed to placing the statue on the Town Common. Questions were generally about specific materials that were proposed.
Nelson did not have specifics because much of these final material decisions are funding dependent.
The project is estimated to cost $450,000.
Town meeting passed an article last month that would appropriate $425,000 to fund this rehabilitation. This is contingent on a state Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities grant the town hopes to receive. Ultimately, Adams would only be responsible for the $127,500 balance.
Nelson said the town may be able to do much of this work in-house.
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