the trustees of reservations
On The Land
The Trustees of Reservations

Saturday, April 16, 2011

CR will Protect New Community Park in Fitchburg

Last year, The Trustees and the North County Land Trust acquired a CR on Massachusetts' first Gateway Park, soon to be constructed in the City of Fitchburg.  Gateway cities are twenty-four traditional manufacturing hubs across the state that are home to 35,000 or more residents.  Fitchburg's economy once thrived, anchored by paper mills and a General Electric plant, but lost 75% of its manufacturing jobs between 1960 and 2000 when these facilities closed down.  Today Fitchburg, like other post-industrial communities, has seen income and education levels lag behind other regions that can attract knowledge-based businesses like software developers and financial services. The Commonwealth's Gateway Parks program will provide new opportunities for residents to enjoy the outdoors, where parks are in scarce supply, and help attract other economic investment.

The Fitchburg Gateway Park will add to the many beautiful parks managed by the Fitchburg Parks Department. The CR will ensure that the land remains a city park for the public to use and enjoy, and permits a variety of activities including a community garden, performance pavilion, and walking trails along the banks of the North Nashua River. 

(Nashua River flowing past the park site, May 2008)

(Shady grove on the park site, along Nashua River bank, May 2008)

This project also demonstrates the effectiveness of public-private partnerships where private land trusts, the Nashua River Watershed Association , and the Fitchburg Greenway Committee (TTOR's 2010 Conservationist of the Year!), worked with state and local government to carry out a complex project.  We can't wait to monitor this land and watch the park transform from an abandoned industrial site into a vital community space, benefiting the residents of my historic home town.

Andrew Bentley - CR Stewardship Assistant

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