Archive 2008 - 2019

A New Goodwill Park Playground

by Elisabeth Nemeth

A New Goodwill Park Playground, by Liz Nemeth

Mission Possible Holliston is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to support the development, improvement and maintenance of recreational spaces in Holliston for current and future generations alike. Our first project is to rebuild the Goodwill Park Playground in downtown Holliston. We have been working closely with the Holliston Parks Commission, the Holliston Highway Department, and the Selectmen to create a long-term vision for the park. Mark and David Ahronian of Ahronian Landscape and Design have generously contributed a landscape design of the new park.

When coming up with a new long-term vision for the space there were certain parts that we felt were important. Taking input from many other residents in Holliston, we came up with a list of considerations. First and foremost we wanted to create an accessible playground.

We have chosen diverse playground equipment for ages 0-12. All of the play equipment is accessible by wheelchair. And some, like the tire swing and log tunnel, were chosen because of the benefit to children with sensory integration issues. The mound in the middle of the playground is a landscape feature that would be more common in a larger space, but acts as a visual and physical barrier in this setting.

When the playground was originally designed, the thought was to separate the younger children from the older. But any parent with two different age children finds it difficult to keep track of both kids in that large space, with the mound in the middle. Currently even the swings are separated by ability preventing different ages from playing together.

In the new playground, we wanted to create a single play area, entirely fenced. The mound will be leveled, the dirt used to create a berm surrounding the new playground area. At the new walking entrance of the park, we have chosen plants that will create a sensory garden. Using plants that stimulate your senses by sight, smell, and touch. Some include Mint, Lavender, Lamb sear, and Gay feather. There will be a picnic table area for people wanting to sit in a nice park at lunch.

There will be two rain gardens that will provide drainage, one for the playground area and one for the parking area. Rain gardens are a natural, environmentally friendly drainage option that is fast becoming the most common means for keeping the water flowing back into the natural aquifer. Surrounding the rain gardens will be water-loving plants like blueberry bushes, RedTwig Dogwoods, and ornamental grass.

One of the most common questions asked is what are you going to do about traffic and parking on Green Street? It has a clear traffic flow problem. While there are thirteen parking spots on the street, one is never sure if they are open, and how and where to turn around. Considering all of the summer programming, sports events, and playground use, it would be unwise not to consider a better, more user friendly way to access the new playground. Right now the playground use is at the lowest it has ever been. By building a new, accessible playground, lots of families will be coming, and traffic flow and a safe drop off area are very important.

Our new plan proposes using the existing driveway as an entrance into a small, one-way parking area. This area would be in what is currently the toddler area. There will be roughly 12-16 regular parking spots and two handicapped parking spots. Applewood Survey is generously contributing time drawing up accurate dimensions of this parking area. This parking area will not fully accommodate parking during events or even peak playground attendance.  But it will offer a solution to the traffic flow, offer a safe drop off area, and the ability for a family with a handicapped child easy accessibility to the playground.

Our proposed landscape design requires completely new grading and drainage in the park. Mark Ahronian, a certified horticulturist, clearly marked all of the trees and bushes in the park to indicate how they will be affected by our proposal. All of the trees marked with a yellow ribbon are staying.

We are looking onto transplanting the seven trees and 26 shrubs marked with blue and white checkered ribbon. Two possibilities exist at this time: relocating them along the ball field on the Green Street side of the fence, and to the new Cutler Heights Housing project. The trees that will be removed are: the five diseased Ash trees that are in the toddler area, two decayed Cherry trees, one Cherry tree infested with carpenter ants, two hollowed out Crabapple trees, seven Pine trees, and one Linden tree. Our plans call for planting 21 new trees.

We will present our plans for public comment on April 15 at 7:30 at the Planning Board meeting being held in the Selectmen’s office. All are welcome to attend.

Thank you,
Liz Nemeth