Silver Lake Park upgrades continue in Athol

By GREG VINE

For the Athol Daily News

Published: 09-10-2023 7:17 PM

ATHOL — When it comes to the improvements the town has been working on at Silver Lake Park in recent months, Department of Public Works Assistant Superintendent Paul Raskevitz says, “We still have a lot more work to do.”

Raskevitz spoke with the Athol Daily News after meeting with the Open Space and Recreation Committee regarding his department’s ongoing campaign to spruce up the popular municipal park.

“We’re doing it out of our budget, so we do a little bit here and there,” Raskevitz said. “But the swing sets are all complete, and the mulch used for fall protection — the wood chips — have all been installed, the borders have all been installed. We’re super happy with that.”

The swing set is designed to be used by two age groups, Raskevitz said, and it also is fitted with an inclusive swing for children with disabilities.

In addition, the Athol Lions Club planted several trees on the peninsula that reaches out into Silver Lake.

“It came out really, really well. They partnered with Noel’s Nursery [of Orange] to put those in. So, it looks fantastic,” he said, also crediting the Lions Club with the addition of the pavilion and picnic tables. “They do a lot up there.”

The assistant superintendent said the town has likely spent in excess of $25,000 at Silver Lake Park over the past two years, “and that’s not including labor hours. That’s just materials.” The Cemetery, Parks and Trees Division of the DPW has been spearheading the work. “We don’t really hire anything out if we’re able to do it in-house,” he added.

Raskevitz said improvements were also made to the facility that serves fans of the latest sports fad.

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“We were able to put in posts and nets at the pickleball court, so those are all town-owned now,” he said. “There was a group that was bringing their own nets but we installed permanent nets for all the residents.

“We’d love to resurface the courts,” he added. “The problem is when that pad was poured originally there was never a vapor barrier put down. We’ve talked with multiple paint vendors and concrete sealing vendors, and no one can really seem to find the right product to use that won’t peel off because of the lack of a vapor barrier. Moisture will wick up through the pad from the ground and get underneath whatever sealant we put on it and it will bubble up.”

Looking ahead, Raskevitz said, DPW “Superintendent [Dick] Kilhart and I would really like to get the signage squared away as you’re driving in. We just haven’t had the chance to approach Open Space and the Selectboard with some ideas for it.

Raskevitz said he is also excited for the addition of a water bubbler and water filling station this fall.

“Hopefully we can reduce the number of plastic disposable bottles that everyone brings in,” Raskevitz said. “We’re putting one out at Fish Park as well.”

Raskevitz said he would like to have accomplished more at Silver Lake Park over the summer, but “between the rain and all the other projects we have going on, we are spread so thin we haven’t had the time to spend out there that we really want to. Now that fall is coming, hopefully we can catch up on some of the other projects — we can devote a bit more time there.”

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