BURLINGTON – The 209-acre green-space wonderland known as Mary Cummings Park located in Burlington and Woburn is ready to be improved.
The Friends of Mary Cummings Park, the 501(c)(3) non-profit that works to protect and enhance the magnificent property left by Mary Cummings in 1930, have been working with residents to gauge what improvements are needed.
The Friends of Mary Cummings Park, Inc. was founded in 2007 and its purpose is to help keep Mary Cummings Park forever open as a public park and playground; to promote recreation consistent with the historic uses of the park and to promote the protection of wildlife habitat and watershed. The “friends” are managing the park under a license agreement while a management contract is completed with the City of Boston (owners of Mary Cummings Park).
Catherine Moore, treasurer and board member of the Friends of Mary Cummings Park, briefed the Board of Selectmen last night on the anticipated improvements.
Last June, they started with a community outreach initiative to have the input of residents on what is important to them in relation to improving the park. The priorities entailed making it a more welcoming place to visitors, to enjoy and provide maintenance for the park, improve the parking facilities and access, and to improve the site’s ecology.
“We created a Master Plan last September,” disclosed Moore. “From there, we conducted studies in the wetlands and the borings necessary to put in a boardwalk to the marsh.”
In January, the design improvements were completed. This leaves the “friends” in the midst of the permitting process with the Conservation Commission and Planning Board, both of which are taking place in the next 10 days. The ultimate goal is to have construction begin in April and have it completed by June 1.
“In October, we will be doing an opening celebration and we want everyone to be there to enjoy the park,” declared Moore.
Additionally, other improvements include creating a new parking lot (20 spaces), bike-rack, developing a picnic lawn, and restoring old trails and crafting new trails. Many of the existing trails have been overcome by invasive species.
The feature enhancement in the park has to be the construction of a 250-ft. boardwalk into the marsh area, where the hope is people will be able to study the ecology of the marsh land. MilliporeSigma, on Summit Drive, sponsored the construction of the boardwalk.
The “friends” expressed their desire to see the park also used for hikes and snowshoeing. The model airplane flyers will continue to fill the skies above the park. They acknowledged the help of volunteers now and in the future will be vital in sustaining the park as the improvements are erected.
“We would love as many volunteers as possible to help with the park’s upkeep,” professed Moore. “Especially with the removal of the invasive species along the walking trails.”
The selectmen were impressed with the improvement plan presented by the “friends” and offered any help they could provide.
“I am happy you are increasing access to the park and marsh area,” voiced Selectman Michael Runyan. “I think people will utilize the boardwalk. I certainly support your efforts.”
Selectman Chair Joseph Morandi called the work expected to be done a “huge plus” for the town.
“If there is anything we can do to help, please do not hesitate to reach out to us,” Chair Morandi assured.
The “friends” will be in front of the Conservation Commission and Planning Board in the next 10 days in hopes of getting approved for a special permit for the aforementioned improvements.
The work hoped to be done in the park is being funded through a grant from the state.