DPW sprucing up Silver Lake Park in Athol  

  • Ducks, some with their heads tucked between their wings for a nap, gather in a cove just before sundown at Silver Lake Park. PHOTO BY GREG VINE

  • A new swing set is being installed at Silver Lake Park.  PHOTO BY GREG VINE

  • These pickleball courts were recently laid out at Silver Lake Park. Permanent nets will soon be stretched across each of the three courts. PHOTO BY GREG VINE

  • Silver Lake Park PHOTO  BY GREG VINE

For the Athol Daily News
Published: 12/1/2022 2:33:20 PM
Modified: 12/1/2022 2:30:58 PM

ATHOL — Despite delays created by supply chain issues and the need to address more pressing priorities, employees of the Public Works Department have spent part of 2022 making improvements to Athol’s Silver Lake Park.

Some of the work has been basic maintenance, Assistant Public Works Director Paul Raskevitz said, but improvements have been made to park infrastructure which should please children and adults alike.

“We haven’t done anything resulting in any major expenses up there,” Raskevitz said. “We’ve done some parking lot repairs. We’ve done some general tidying up and some brush cutting.

“We have a permit through the Conservation Commission now so we can do our general maintenance without having to go to them for every individual project. We listed off a series of activities we would be doing throughout the year, so that gives us freedom to do that stuff.”

Raskevitz said that, until this latest permit was issued, the department would have to apply for a permit for every project that included work being done within 100 feet of a wetland. Work also has been done on some of the recreational equipment, despite issues created by the pandemic.

“We put in a new swing set,” he said. “That’s been partially installed. It will be completed by spring. The rest of the parts have finally arrived. They were held up due to supply chain issues.

“It will have three different gangs of swings on it. It’ll have regular saddle swings. It will have swings made for younger children, and then it will have an inclusive swing on the end.”

The only work remaining for the swings, Raskevitz explained, is putting in the borders and laying down the fall protection.

“As soon as that’s all in, we’ll hang the swings. It’s just that we can’t hang the swings without the correct fall protection.”

While Rasketiz said there were “no major expenses,” he did point out that the new swings cost about $8,000.

Some work has also been done which should please local pickleball enthusiasts.

“We’ve done some work, with the help of a private organization, over at the old — I guess it was a skateboard park years ago. We do have the permanent nets and posts. Those have finally arrived, and we’re going to have pickleball.

“Right now, there’s an organization that brings temporary nets out every time they use it. We’re going to have permanent nets for the spring. They’ve arrived as well. Once again, there was almost a six-month order with supply chain issues for the posts. The nets came in, then we had to go through three different vendors before we finally got the posts.”

Raskevitz said three courts will be available to accommodate pickleball competition.

“Pickleball is wildly popular. It’s great. It’s low impact. It gets everyone moving. It’s super cool. And we’ll have that completed by spring.”

According to Raskevitz, it wasn’t necessary to lay down a new surface for the courts.

“There’s already an existing surface,” he explained. “That’s going to determine what we can actually put down. If that pad was poured years ago with a vapor barrier, we’ll be able to paint them and have the green and the blue, like you normally see (on a pickleball court). If the vapor barrier is under that, we may have to keep it concrete color with only painted lines.”

Raskevitz said he would like to install a couple of more benches at the park next year, replenish the beach sand, and undertake some general maintenance on the pavilion and parking area.

“The people really making this happen,” he was quick to add, “is the CPT (Cemetery, Parks and Trees) Division in the DPW. They have an immense amount of pride in their work. Mark Summers is their new foreman. He’s only been in that position for about a year and he’s really trying to do everything within his power — and everything that time allows — to make (Silver Lake Park) the jewel of the downtown area.”

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

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