Spray park issues addressed

Spray Park
Children of all ages enjoy the spray park at the Municipal Playground Wednesday. (Photo by The Westfield News/Frederick Gore)

WESTFIELD, Mass. (The Westfield News) – The Conservation Commission set several conditions to address environmental concerns raised during its review of the Sadie Knox Playground spray park.

The project was brought to the commission because the playground is within the 100-foot buffer of a wetland resource area. That buffer is two-dimensional and is not just linear but also vertical because the wetland is at the base of a steep bluff and the playground at the top.The project will require the removal of 30 trees, most are small caliber, but also several large trees with damage which pose a hazard to children and adults using the playground facilities.

The other concern identified by the commission members is the practice of throwing grass clippings and leaves over the bank of the bluff. That practice has resulted in damage to trees stabilizing the bank as the debris builds up and covers the base of the trees.
The commission voted to impose requirements, including erection of signs prohibiting the dumping of debris over the crest of the bluff, and that during construction of the spray park a silt fence and straw bales will be put into place to prevent erosion over the bluff crest.

The city is constructing the spray park through a state grant from the Division of Conservation. The project has an estimated construction budget of $281,000. The Community Preservation Commission and City Council approved an appropriation of $300,000 for the project.

The state will return $200,000 to the city’s Community Preservation Act accounts through that grant.

The proposed Sadie Knox spray park will be about the same size as the park at Municipal Field near Franklin Street, but will have facilities similar to the recently constructed Chapman Playground spray park.

Other amenities such as benches, improved bathrooms and handicapped accessible sidewalks are included in the scope of the project.

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Media Credit: The Westfield News

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