Lanesborough Residents Want a Senior Park
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — A group of seniors who are not yet ready to retire from physical activity want to create a "senior park" at Bridge Street Park.
The Select Board on Monday voted to form a Lanesborough Senior Park Initiative after it was approached by resident Linda Pruyne with a proposal to add senior-friendly recreation facilities to the site. Members will be recruited through a citizen's interest form and are planned to be appointed at the next meeting.
"Our population is aging. Seventy-year-olds, we don't feel old and we're not ready to go to the senior center and play bingo," she said, adding that older residents need outdoor activities that can connect them with friends.
The proposal is of no cost to the town and is planned to be paid through fundraising.
Resident Bill Cook explained that the Bill Laston Memorial Park has elements for younger community members and though the senior park would not be exclusive to ages 65 and older, it would have activities that commonly interest older populations such as bocce courts, shuffleboard courts, and horseshoes.
Utilizing the existing infrastructure, the planners feel that they may be able to install a small gazebo for shade, a pickle ball court, and a wiffle ball field. It was also designed with easy accessibility with paths, nearby parking, and handicap-accessible tables.
"The park hasn't been used in quite some time and now with the new basketball court, they don't even really use the hoop that was falling apart and the basketball court is in disrepair," Pruyne said.
"So we got a little group together and [Cook] did this wonderful drawing. What we're proposing is that while the state is working on the reconstruction of the bridge, they're going to be putting in a sidewalk and they're going to be putting in a bike path and it's only going to be for that distance. My understanding is it's going to start right before the bridge and end right after the bridge so while they're doing that, we'd like them to do it in accordance with what the need might be for this park."
She added that the board voted for Lanesborough to be a senior-friendly community a few years ago.
"Isolation is a huge issue with seniors and some outdoor activities would be just excellent for that," Pruyne said. "And especially things that men will enjoy because there are very few men that participate in the current senior activities."
It was pointed out that there is a wall on site that will need some engineering as well as other elements of the park.
There are about seven people who have been working as an ad hoc committee on the effort.
In the past, the park was known as Mark Belanger Park but Pruyne reported that the sign is pretty much gone. The group would like to consider auctioning naming rights to raise money.
When asked why the seniors would prefer this option over using Laston Park, she explained that Bridge Street Park has been sitting vacant and subject to vandalism and that Laston Park is less accessible with a longer commute from the parking lot and does not have a working restroom.
"It seems to me like we are kind of sold on the concept," Chairman Michael Murphy said. "The idea that at this point, it's not going to cost the town any money."
The board would like members to go through an official citizen's interest form to be placed on the panel. The town's recreation committee will be notified of the effort as well.
Tags: public parks, senior citizens,