On April 29, the groundbreaking of the Norton Tricentennial Park, located at 223 W. Main St., will mark the beginning works of a permanent memorial to the town’s 300th birthday.
The idea for the park was organized by Mary E.R. Brown, Peter Hunt, Brendan Jones, Bill McArtor, Butch Rich, Ruth Goold, Frances Shirley, Phil Zawasky and Kathleen Ebert-Zawasky.
“I became involved when I heard about it in the fall of 2010,” Kathleen Ebert-Zawasky explained. “Frances Shirley and Ruth Goold suggested we consider this site for the park. They are both very active with the Nine Lives of Norton program that had been located there. They knew the building on the site would be vacant soon. After searching all over town, we decided this location was the right location and took the idea to the selectmen.”
Plans for the park, which is in front of Norton Middle School, the Community Playground and adjacent to the historic Campbell House, include a vine-covered arbor, which will serve as the entrance to the park, a variety of native plants, ground covers and shrubs lining the pathway, an innovative natural water feature, a small grassy area, dedicated gardens and memorial benches.
“We hope to include native plants for the park - specifically the types of plants that the first settlers would have encountered 300 years ago,” Zawasky said.
Another plan is to provide an opportunity for Norton school children to perform public service projects and learn about Norton’s nature and history first-hand - through workshops and other learning activities.
A few of the manual labor volunteers include the Leadership Council of Norton Middle School, Brownie Troop 80463 who will develop one of the small gardens in the park, and a Boy Scout who will take on the park pathway as his Eagle Scout Project.
“It will be a great demonstration garden for a program we in the Norton Land Preservation Society are running, the Wild Backyards of Norton,” Zawasky said. “This project seeks to have the town of Norton certified as a Community Wildlife Habitat. We need 150 households to register and we are registering other land in town. This park will help us to get the town certified and it will help us to show how native plants can be the best choice for our yards and gardens.”
The money it will take to get the park finished is still unknown at this moment, but the Tricentennial Park Committee has already received many offers for financial help and donations. The Chartley Garden Club, for example, is offering to help purchase some of the plantings.
“It is too early to release the names of all our donors and volunteers at this time but we will acknowledge all donations at the grand opening,” Zawasky said. Since the groundbreaking is the primary focus right now, the date for the grand opening is still in the works.
Additional parking for the groundbreaking is available at St. Mary’s Church across the street. For questions or ideas, email email@example.com. For more information about how you can help visit http://www.norton300.org/tricentennial-park.html.