Some residents joined members of the Recreation Committee Saturday, April 6, to clean up Allyn Brook Park in preparation for the coming warmer weather and annual Easter Egg Hunt.
“It's been a long time since we've done something like this,” Park and Recreation Director Sherry Hill said, adding that she hoped their efforts would be an extra help to the Public Works Department’s annual upkeep.
Volunteers gathered up downed branches and twigs, raked and cleared the more than 20-year-old brick walk of packed-in sand. Among the groups of students from the district’s Spanish Club was a local family of six who own Seasons Tree Service in Durham.
“I saw the post on the Facebook page and figured it would be a good way to get these kids out of the house and learn what it is to do for others,” said Ray McCarter. His oldest kids, John, 8, and Gianna, 10, pitched in raking twigs. Their mom Ashley helped out even as she carried the family’s latest addition, a 4-week-old baby. Two-year-old Brice had less fun, but got to ride in the wheelbarrow used to move sticks to the pickup pile.
While clearing the walkway, which extends around the perimeter and through the center of the park, volunteers watched the path grow wider and wider as they went, surprised at how much had been covered.
“Holy cow, this is looking like a path again,” recreation committee member Jon Scagnelli said while working.
Volunteers even found a surprise alcove to the path, a small three-by-five foot patch of brick that had been covered with grass and dirt.
The Park and Recreation Department will hold its annual Easter Egg hunt on Saturday, April 20, starting at 9 a.m. Age groups vary from infants to 10 and up, and will get to hunt at different intervals for colored eggs donated from Doyle’s Farm.
Visitors may notice a few changes to the park, including a new handicap-accessible picnic table and bike rack, thanks to Matthew Johnson, a local Eagle Scout and senior at Coginchaug Regional High School.
Johnson installed the items in March, as part of his Eagle Scout project. He said the idea for the handicap-accessible picnic table came in line with the Park and Recreation Department’s vision of inclusion and hopes people in wheelchairs can use the table to comfortably join conversations or activities like card games.
He chose Allyn Brook Park because he used to ride bikes to the park with a friend and they would just leave their bikes resting on trees since there was no bike rack available.
“I wanted to say thank you to Mr. Jeffrey Fair Carpentry in Madison. He helped me a lot with this, he had blueprints and was there to help when I needed it,” Johnson said.
He also credited United Fuel Oil LLC, Chapman Manufacturing, Grippos Service Center, Debbie and Robert Huscher, and Dolphin Days with additional support.