Keeping up with the latest trends isn’t easy, and it can be especially difficult for municipalities with limited resources. While residents are ready and willing to jump into the latest craze, municipalities can often struggle to quickly implement changes and meet the needs of the community. Pickleball is a recent example of this trend, and it’s taking the outdoor recreation world by storm.
According to data from the Trust for Public Land, the number of off-leash dog parks has increased 20% over the last five years. With an estimated one out of every three Americans now owning a dog, and dwindling open spaces in many urban and suburban communities, it’s not surprising that off-leash dog parks are an increasingly popular use of Community Preservation Act funds. The newly opened “Boneyard” dog park in the town of Kingston is a perfect example.
Accessibility is an increasingly important element of recent CPA projects, highlighting the integral community building aspect of the program. Many communities are working hard to ensure that any resident, regardless of disabilities, has the opportunity to participate and enjoy the benefits of CPA projects. In the town of Easthampton, the newly-opened Mutter’s Field Trail is a shining example of an open space project designed with accessibility in mind.
A transformative recreation project is under construction this summer in the Town of Boxford, known as the Boxford Common, that ultimately will serve three of the four CPA purposes. In 2007 the town acquired 75 acres of woodland in the center of town for $3.25 million. Following this purchase, a land use committee was formed and recommended constructing a recreational facility, including an artificial turf athletic field, on on a portion of the land, setting aside approximately 10 acres for future affordable housing and leaving the remaining land undisturbed for hiking, running, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and horseback riding.
Until recently, Peter Igo Park in the town of Marshfield was a troublesome area for the community. The park had fallen into disrepair due to general neglect and years of tight municipal budgets. Because of its cracked asphalt courts and jagged wire fences, what should have been a family-friendly outdoor space had instead become a hotspot for underage drinking and other unwanted activities. However, thanks to the local nonprofit Friends of Peter Igo Park and CPA funding, the property was transformed from an eyesore into a vibrant, attractive, award-winning park.
Hundreds of children on the North Shore are new beneficiaries of a state-of-the-art playground in Hamilton, partly funded by CPA revenue. From 2012 to 2013, community members witnessed the transformation of an old, dilapidated playground designed for children under the age 5, into an updated and expanded outdoor recreation facility containing playground elements for children of all ages. The use of CPA funds on park rehabilitation projects was made possible by the changes to the Act in 2012's "An Act to Sustain Community Preservation" legislation.
Every spring, thousands of migratory herring swim from Boston Harbor up the Weymouth Back River on their way to Whitman’s Pond. Herring spend most of their lives in the ocean, but return to fresh water once a year to spawn. On their way upstream, they pass through Jackson Square in Weymouth, where there is now a new CPA-funded park, celebrating the herring and providing a place to help town residents and visitors appreciate them each spring.
Hanover’s Forge Pond Park, financed entirely with CPA funds, is the largest recreational complex on the South Shore. Hanover took an uncommon approach to the project, using CPA funds to purchase land for active recreation and then building outdoor recreational facilities on the property.
CPA funds were used to acquire a 46.7 acre parcel of land formerly owned and operated by the Horizons for Youth organization, located on the shore of the community’s recreational crown jewel – the 353 acre Lake Massapoag.