The Town of Wilbraham retained Weston & Sampson to provide Master Planning services for the Spectacle Pond Recreation Area, the town’s premier open space and recreation facility. The area encompasses 39.5 acres of land at a central location off of Route 20. Approximately 18 acres of the site are currently developed for active recreational use, and Spectacle and Turtle Ponds are spring-fed kettle ponds that occupy an additional 8.5 acres. The remaining 13 acres of the property are either wooded or not formally developed. Since the property is adjacent to the Regional YMCA and the Wilbraham Senior Center, offering a broad range of multi-generational, four season, indoor/outdoor recreational uses was important.
This heavily used regional facility currently offers active and passive recreational venues that include playing fields, basketball courts, a swimming pond and beach area, picnic pavilion with kitchen facilities, and limited playground equipment. In recent years, the town has made considerable investments in the property with funds secured from various sources, including Community Preservation Act funding, MassDOT, and other private sources. Many facilities are still in need of repair or replacement, however, and some facilities were damaged during the 2011 tornado. Because of these factors, the Wilbraham community has intensified their search for funding opportunities to allow for continued improvement of this site. The project is necessary as part of the town’s ongoing effort to provide critical 21st-century recreational opportunities that meet the needs of a diverse population.
With the assistance of Weston & Sampson, the town has been successful in undertaking significant site improvements by a variety of funding means that include successful fundraising campaigns, significant in-kind labor and equipment donations, and an application for PARC funding. The site improvements include construction of a multi-use field, youth and adult baseball diamonds, and an outfield area that accommodates football and lacrosse. A new park entrance drive, parking area, and park walkways were recently constructed under a MassDOT improvement project. The town is also seeking bids for the construction of an adult softball field. In addition, several projects are “shovel ready,” such as the burying of overhead utilities and various walking trail segments. The design costs for these efforts have already been borne by the town, which reduces the extent of design costs being sought under the town’s current PARC application.
There is strong support in the community for this project. Weston & Sampson has facilitated two public hearings for this project from which comprehensive, constructive, and thoughtful input has been gained.