Com­mit­tee presents po­ten­tial ideas for Avalon Park

Cecil Whig - - & - By BRI­ANNA SHEA

bshea@ce­cil­whig.com

— Build­ing a per­gola, in­stalling an ob­ser­va­tion deck and spruc­ing up area na­ture trails are just some of the ideas the Avalon Park De­vel­op­ment Team sug­gested to town com­mis­sion­ers dur­ing a pre­sen­ta­tion last week.

The eight-mem­ber team was formed in March and given the task of fig­ur­ing out how to turn Avalon Park Lot B into a wa­ter­front park. In Septem­ber, the town re­ceived a $90,000 grant from the De­part­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources to fund the ren­o­va­tions and the town has also pledged $10,000 to the project. Though the grant is specif­i­cally for Avalon Park Lot B, the team is also con­sid­er­ing how to some­day in­cor­po­rate the ad­ja­cent Avalon Ma­rina prop­erty, which the town bought last sum­mer for $435,000, into the wa­ter­front park de­sign.

Mary Clark Con­falone, a mem­ber of the team, gave a pre­sen­ta­tion on the group’s ideas at the town meet­ing last Tues­day, not­ing that the process is still in the plan­ning stages.

The ideas pre­sented fo­cused on the three main ar­eas spelled out in the grant guide­lines: com­mu­nity pro­grams, ed­u­ca­tion and recre­ation.

Com­mu­nity pro­grams could in­clude Art in the Park and en­ter­tain­ment such as con­certs, Con­falone said. Ed­u­ca­tion would en­com­pass river safety classes and a

CHARLESTOWN

na­ture camp for kids while recre­ation would in­clude kayak­ing and na­ture paths, she added.

Other ideas in­cluded build­ing a per­gola and an ob­ser­va­tion deck, both of which would be hand­i­cap ac­ces­si­ble, in­stalling en­vi­ron­men­tally-friendly items, such as so­lar path lights, and clean­ing up the area.

The po­ten­tial “Avalon stage”, or per­gola, which could host com­mu­nity events, could be placed in a field be­tween Ped­dler’s Creek and the North East River. The per­gola struc­ture would have to be sturdy enough to han­dle harsh weather and large vol­umes of peo­ple, Con­falone said.

An ob­ser­va­tion deck could pos­si­bil­ity be built be­tween the park­ing lot and the North East River on the north side, she added.

The area al­ready has one na­ture path that runs along the wa­ter and a sep­a­rate one that leads to the river, where a bench may be lo­cated, Con­falone said. Signs could also be added to help peo­ple iden­tify the types of fish they might catch or birds they might see, she said. Con­falone also said the com­mit­tee has the idea to use the drift­wood that washes up on shore for arch­ways for na­ture path en­trances.

“We’ve got a beau­ti­ful spot here on the river,” Con­falone said of the area on Thurs­day.

No de­ci­sions were made on the ideas brought to the com­mis­sion­ers about the park, but Re­nee Ca­pano, com­mis­sioner pres­i­dent, said she en­joyed the pre­sen­ta­tion.

“I like every­thing they came up with,” Ca­pano said on Wed­nes­day, not­ing she specif­i­cally liked the idea of the stage for mu­sic in the park nights as well as the na­ture paths and the ed­u­ca­tional signs.

In other busi­ness, town meet­ings will start at 7 p.m., instead of 7:30 p.m. start­ing with the July 12 meet­ing. The town meet­ing sched­uled for June 28 was also can­celed.

CE­CIL WHIG FILE PHOTO

Charlestown is cur­rently ex­plor­ing ideas about how to de­velop Avalon Park Lot B.

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