Royalston South Village gazebo dedicated to Jarvenpaa

  • Royalston South Village Revitalization Committee member Nancy Monette thanks a long list of people who have been involved in making improvements to the Royalston neighborhood, Sunday. She is joined by Tom Musco, who built the new South Village gazebo. Staff photo/Greg Vine

  • Community activist Marlene Jarvenpaa thanks Royalston residents for the honor of having the new South Village gazebo dedicated in her honor Sunday. Staff photo/Greg Vine

  • A crowd gathered to witness the dedication of the gazebo in the Park in Royalston's South Village, Sunday. Entertaining them from the gazebo is the Williams Brothers Band. Staff photo/Greg Vine

  • Linda Alger, right, chair of the Gazebo Subcommittee of the Royalston South Village Revitalization Committee, introduces Marlen Jarvenpaa, tho whom the gazebo was dedicated Sunday afternoon. Staff photo/Greg Vine

For The Athol Daily News
Published: 6/14/2021 1:59:36 PM
Modified: 6/14/2021 1:59:37 PM

ROYALSTON — With the sun playing peek-a-boo and a pleasant breeze blowing on a warm June afternoon, well over 100 people gathered Sunday, June 13, for some musical entertainment and the dedication of the new gazebo in the park in Royalston’s South Village.

Speaking to the crowd, Linda Alger, chair of the gazebo subcommittee of the Royalston South Village Revitalization Committee (RSVRC), said, “It is my pleasure to dedicate this gazebo to Marlene Jarvenpaa, a unanimous decision by the Revitalization Committee and supported by the Selectboard.”

Alger explained that it was Jarvenpaa who was the driving force behind creating the RSVRC. She said the idea arose after the town’s Capital Planning Committee met with residents to discuss improvements they would like to see in their respective neighborhoods.

“After that planning meeting,” said Alger, “Marlene advocated for taking those ideas to revitalize the South Village. As such, our committee was born.”

She said a subsequent meeting was held with a variety of town officials, representatives from the Public Works, Police, and Fire departments, grant writers and residents to discuss a variety of projects for the village. As a result, the committee has organized river walks, cleanup days, plantings and the building of the gazebo, which Alger referred to as “our flagship project.”

“Marlene has been active in the Democratic Committee, 250th Anniversary Committee, the Events Committee, and the Revitalization Committee. Her goal has always been about building community. The building of this gazebo is a shining example that it takes a village, it takes a community.

“Marlene has had a vision of building community and because of that vision, we have new friends, exciting things to come, and this beautiful gazebo. Thank you for reminding us, Marlene, that it does take a village to accomplish great things.”

Alger said more than 70 volunteers contributed to the gazebo project and to village beautification efforts.

“I want to thank God and his son,” said Jarvenpaa, “because we prayed about it, and it happened. I want to thank my husband of almost 45 years, next month, for putting up with all this stuff that I’ve been doing. My children for lugging everything around and being there for everything I’ve asked. And all my friends, who have supported all of my ideas and helped with it all.”

She also thanked Tom Musco, owner of Royalston Oak Timber Frames, who volunteered his time to construct the gazebo, as well as her sister, Katy O’Grady, whom she credited with the idea for the gazebo.

“I know I haven’t thanked everyone,” she concluded, “but I thank you, everybody.”

Revitalization Committee member Nancy Monette then thanked a long list of people who had contributed time, materials and labor to the building of the gazebo. She noted that the metal roof on the gazebo was created by students Koryanne Norman and Megan Vasquez Jacquea from the Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School, under the tutelage of teacher Tim Wright. Jacquea also created the brook trout design on six wooden medallions on the ceiling of the gazebo, which were laser-etched by Monty Tech faculty member Kevin Killay.

Monette closed by urging voters to attend the June 26 Annual Town Meeting to support a pair of articles to continue improvements to the South Village — articles, she said, which have been endorsed by the town’s Community Preservation Act proposal.

One article calls for the town to purchase the vacant lot that was once home to Pete and Henry’s Restaurant, which was destroyed by fire in August 2018. Monette said the hope is to develop restroom facilities on the property, noting there is sewer and water on site, and to increase the overall size of the park.

Another article seeks funding to pay for railings for the gazebo, which were not included in the engineering plan in last year’s grant for the gazebo.

The meeting on the June 26 convenes at 10 a.m. under a tent on Royalston Common.

Greg Vine can be reached at

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