Athol Selectboard reviews proposals for Silver Lake Park

 Silver Lake Park viewed from the beach area, with the Richard Phillips Memorial Pavilion and the ball parks across the water. The Athol Selectboard are reviewing a number of proposed updates to the park. 

 Silver Lake Park viewed from the beach area, with the Richard Phillips Memorial Pavilion and the ball parks across the water. The Athol Selectboard are reviewing a number of proposed updates to the park.  FILE PHOTO

One of the pickleball courts at Silver Lake Park in Athol.

One of the pickleball courts at Silver Lake Park in Athol. FILE PHOTO

A design for a new sign that will welcome visitors to Athol's Silver Lake Park. A separate kiosk will include park regulations.

A design for a new sign that will welcome visitors to Athol's Silver Lake Park. A separate kiosk will include park regulations. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

The pickleball courts at Silver Lake Park in Athol. Among the items being reviewed is a scheduling system for the courts.

The pickleball courts at Silver Lake Park in Athol. Among the items being reviewed is a scheduling system for the courts. PHOTO BY GREG VINE

By GREG VINE

For the Athol Daily News

Published: 07-08-2024 3:16 PM

ATHOL – At a recent meeting of the Selectboard, discussion focused on recent work and future projects at Silver Lake Park.

Athol Planning & Development Director Eric Smith and Assistant Public Works Director Paul Raskevitz updated the Selectboard on plans for the park. Smith said that a site walk was done in April and a number of meetings held by the Open Space and Recreation Commission have included talks about updates to the park.

“We had the (Silver Lake) master plan done about five years ago and since then, there’s been an influx of some great ideas from individuals on the committee and residents,” said Smith at the July 2 meeting.

Some of those ideas, said Smith, have included improvements to the walkway around the lake and access to the beach area. He hopes this fall to work with a Planning Department intern on landscape architecture and design.

“Then maybe, we can refine some of those design ideas and get some updated cost estimates,” said Smith. “Then we can go for grant funding to fulfill those ideas.”

Smith then shifted to the short-term goals, including installation of a new sign and improvements to the pickleball court, as well as fitness stations at various points along the walkway.

Raskevitz said it was proposed by the commission that up to eight fitness stations be placed along the walkway, to be paid for through the operating budget. He added that the stations didn’t need to be done all at once.

“It wouldn’t be a huge expense, and it would definitely add to the fitness circuit around the lake,” Raskevitz said.

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Board member Rebecca Bialecki said the stations would be a great idea.

“The more people we have using Silver Lake for positive things, the less people are using it for the bad things,” said Bialecki.

Smith said a plan for the fitness stations would be brought before the board for its approval. He also raised the possibility of the Selectboard establishing some usage and scheduling policies.

“You’re familiar with the old sign,” Raskevitz told the board. “It’s covered in mildew and has the old regulations on it – some of those regulations have changed and there’s talk about new regulations.”

Raskevitz said the commission would like to see a new welcome sign near the park’s entrance. The design is based on one made during an effort to develop wayfinding signage for the town. The new rules for the park could be posted on a smaller kiosk in the parking area and easily updated as needed.

Bialecki made a motion to approve the proposed welcome sign, which was passed without dissent.

Smith noted that a number of Athol residents, including members of the Athol-Orange Rotary, have been working to set up a donation account for upkeep and improvements to the pickleball courts at Silver Lake Park. One problem that has arisen is requests to reserve those courts and the lack of a policy to handle them.

It was suggested that rather than an open-ended reservation policy for all the courts, it could be limited to certain hours or days of the week.

Raskevitz noted that there are three courts at Silver Lake and three others at Fish Park, “so that would be a scheduling nightmare.”

“I don’t see how you could possibly reserve those courts,” said Bialecki. “I think it’s going to be first come, first served.”

After several suggestions were made by members of the board, Smith said he and Raskevitz would present a formal proposal for court reservations at a future meeting.

Greg Vine can be reached at gvineadn@aol.com.