Silver Lake survey respondents: Fishing, walking are favorite activities

  • Members of the Open Space and Recreation Review Committee reviewed results of the Silver Lake Master Plan survey Tuesday night. From left to right — Mary Holtorf, David Small, Chairman Brian Hall, and Town Planner Eric Smith. —Athol Daily News/Kathy Chaisson

  • View of Silver Lake Park from the beach area, with views of the Richard Phillips Memorial Pavilion and the ball parks across the water. Athol Daily News/Deborrah Porter

Staff Writer
Published: 12/5/2019 9:55:24 PM
Modified: 12/5/2019 9:55:13 PM

ATHOL – Members of the Open Space and Recreation Committee Tuesday night reviewed results of the Silver Lake Park Master Plan public survey revealing the top-scoring favorite things to do at the park are walking with or without a dog and fishing.

The survey garnered 114 responses, about 88% of which came from Athol residents.

Committee member David Small said the results give them better focus of how to proceed with plans to revitalize Silver Lake Park.

Chair Brian Hall said they were looking for responses for common themes such as what people like best about Silver Lake Park and what improvements or fixes they would like to see there.

The survey shows that there is a consistent concern for better security at the park and many would like to see the water and beach area cleaned up. Town Planner Eric Smith said the plan needs to be addressed at a public safety level. The committee agreed that having a police and security presence should be a priority. At a previous meeting, DPW Superintendent Douglas Walsh said he was going to write a memo to bring to a future Finance Committee meeting to request more park staffing.

About 49% who took the survey support repairing the old skate pad as a skate park and other sports courts. Hall said he would look into grants for skate parks and the group discussed meeting with skaters and/or their parents and adults who are interested.

Of those who responded to the question of how important is it to them to create a more welcoming approach to the park, about 87% said it was important, very important or extremely important in total. Small said it sets the tone for the park, “but the people who are using it for their activities is what they’re most interested in.”

About 57% showed strong support of using legal methods to reduce the number of geese using the beach and Silver Lake Park.

Making the parking areas more organized brought a 69% response from people who feel its “very” and “extremely” important. The committee was in agreement when Mary Holtorf said, “I really want to see the waterfront, not a parking lot.”

Hall said some of the survey answers were surprising while others were not. “We’ve got some great ideas and an idea of where people stand.”

The committee is also researching web-based chat and project management software to be applied to the Silver Lake Park project.

The survey results and comments will soon be available for viewing on the Town of Athol website, under Parks & Trails.

The next Open Space and Recreation Review Committee meeting will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 7 at 5 p.m. in the Town Hall.

Kathy Chaisson can be reached at and at 978-249-3535, ext. 656.

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