Friends of Menotomy Rocks Park

Park News

Park News: April/May 2001

EARTH DAY: SUNDAY APRIL 22, 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

The Friends of Menotomy Rocks Park (FMRP), together with the Arlington Public Schools, the Vision 2020 Environment Task Group and others will sponsor a fun-and-education-filled afternoon on Earth Day, April 22nd from 1:00- 4:00 p.m. (Rain date: Sunday, April 29th). Activities to suit every interest will be found: Atmospheric (clouds; homemade weather instruments, sun prints, etc.), Biological (pond biology, earthworms), Environmental (water quality, etc.), Geological (geology tours), Historical (Park history), Food (bake sale), FUN (games, scavenger hunt). There will be welcome tables with event schedules outlining the various afternoon activities. Please plan on coming for an enjoyable afternoon – but we ask that you please leave your dogs at home for this one afternoon. There will be two morning events – a bird walk (7:30 – 9:00 a.m.) and a tree walk (9:00 – 10:30 a.m.). Our thanks to FMRP board members John Pickle and Mary Cummings for organizing this event!

HILLS POND WEEDS

The Arlington Conservation Commission recently voted to approve the joint proposal of the Arlington Parks & Recreation Commission and the Friends of Menotomy Rocks Park to treat Hills Pond with an herbicide to eliminate the invasive pond weeds which have been plaguing our small pond for the past two years. Aquatic Control Technologies (ACT) will be applying Sonar (fluridone) in early May which will interfere with photosynthesis in the two major invaders, Eurasian watermilfoil and thinleaf pondweed. The cost of the treatment ($4,000-$5000) will be paid by FMRP with the hope that future treatments, which might be necessary every three years or so, will become a Town park maintenance item. Signs will be posted by ACT on the day(s) that Sonar is applied. Sonar, which is used in drinking water reservoirs, will be applied in very low-dose concentration, well below the concentration allowed by Massachusetts state law, but enough to eradicate the invasive weeds. The town DPW and the FMRP will attempt to use the pond outlet system so that the water level of the pond can be lowered prior to the treatment in May.

HILLS POND WALL REPAIR

New Arlington Town Manager Philip Farrington and the Arlington DPW have informed us that work will begin on the pond wall repair in late summer.

DAMAGED TREES

Quite a few trees suffered severe damage this past winter, including quite a few near the pathways. FMRP has asked the town DPW as well as its chain-saw-owning membership to do some clearing work. Please be aware of the potential danger before this work is completed.

THE DOGS OF SPRING

Spring’s good weather will draw many more people to the Park – including joggers, young families, fisherfolk and daydreamers. We ask that dogwalkers please avoid the more popular areas of the Park (the pond and field areas) unless their dogs are fully under tight control – so that no one feels threatened.

Park News: January/February 2001

HILLS POND WEEDS

Eurasian milfoil and two other weeds infested Hill’s Pond again this year. Last year, the FMRP board offered a grant to the Town to cover the cost of treating the weeds. The board has renewed the $4,000-$5000 offer again this year. The Parks & Recreation Commission, which has jurisdiction over the Park, has informed us that they will be asking the Conservation Commission to start a review process in January. The Conservation Commission must approve any steps taken to mediate weed growth after evaluating the safety, effectiveness and environmental impact of various weed eradication measures. We hope that this process will be completed by early May when weeds are most easily destroyed.

HILLS POND WALL REPAIR

The Arlington Department of Public Works modified last spring’s public bid for the pond wall repair and received eight bids in December. The FMRP board has voted to donate $12,000 toward the cost of repairing the wall. FMRP board member Ed Heck spearheaded proposal-writing efforts that landed a $10,000 matching grant from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s Small Lakes and Ponds program in 2000. The board is working with the Town to try to extend the grant for another year. The Friends will be asking for volunteers to help with removing vegetation along the wall before the masonry work begins.

MEMORIAL BENCHES etc.

Three additional memorial benches were installed in the Park in the latter half of 2000 — two much-needed benches in the playground area and one in the vicinity of the Spring Street entrance to the Park. Our thanks to the generous donors, and to Joe Connolly, head of the Recreation Department and FMRP directors Denise Long and MaryAnna Foskett who collaborated on the installations. Only a few more approved sites remain, and once they are filled, the memorial bench program will draw to a close. In 2001, FMRP will work with the Parks & Recreation Commission to initiate a memorial tree program. The Friends will identify native tree species that can handle the hardships of life in a public park, and will help map planting sites. Plans are also in the works to install some new identification tags on older trees.

EARTH DAY

The Friends are planning some Earth Day activities in the Park on April 22nd. Included will be workshops on birds, geology, plants and water. Put the date on your calendar!

Park News: Summer 2000

Senior Picnic to Celebrate the Millennium

On Saturday, June 17, a special picnic in the park is being held for Arlington seniors as part of the Towns year-long Millennium Celebration. The Friends of Menotomy Rocks Park welcome the group to the jewel of Arlington’s park system.

Wall project receives major grant

A proposal-writing team led by FoMRP members Ed Heck and Sybil Carey landed a $10,000 grant to help fund the repair of the Hills Pond wall. The grant will be made to the Town of Arlington, and it comes from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s Small Lakes and Ponds program. This will be added to $12,000 that the Friends have committed to the project.

Wall repair is out for bids

The masonry work for the pond wall was recently let out to public bid by the Arlington Department of Public Works. Bid documents are available from the town purchasing agent, and bids will be opened on June 29th. Watch this space for more information about who will be doing the work and when. While construction is in progress, the water level will be lowered by about one foot.

Volunteers needed to prepare

Seven mature and beautiful buttonbush plants need to be transplanted before wall construction begins. They are growing along a crumbling section of wall that will be demolished, and this is the only way to preserve them. They will be temporarily planted about 75 feet north of their current location, a project that will require strong backs during a weekend in July. Dates will be announced on the bulletin boards. Other volunteers will be needed to water the buttonbushes during the August heat.

The weeds are growing!

After a series of bureaucratic misadventures, it recently became clear that the Friends’ effort to pay for the eradication of the Hills Pond weeds was not going to be accepted by the town. What began as a straightforward effort to donate $4,300 for weed elimination became much more complicated as first the Conservation Commission, then the Parks and Recreation Commission, became involved. The weeds will be growing happily until 2001, at which time the Friends group may once again vote to try and fund their removal.

Park News: January-February 2000 Winter Update

First Memorial Benches Installed

Just before the unseasonably warm weather disappeared, beautiful teak benches were placed in six locations throughout the park. Each bears a small memorial plaque selected by the donor. The Park & Recreation Commission approved six more bench sites, and information about how to donate is available from MaryAnna Foskett (646-5882) or Denise Long (646-0022).

Friends Membership Increases for 2000

In response to our annual “state of the park” letter, which went to about 300 households, Friends membership rose from 96 households to 120. Thanks to everyone who sent dues or additional contributions. If you would like to join but didnt receive a letter at home, please contact us at the above address or through our “Community Connections” listing at www.townonline.com/arlington.

Rebuilding the Wall, Stone by Stone

A long series of Conservation Commission hearings came to an end on December 2, when the ConCom voted unanimously to “accept the project as conditioned.” Director of Public Works Richard Bento will now put the project out for bids, so that construction can be accomplished this Spring and Summer. Detailed plans for protecting flora and fauna during the work are being negotiated, and notices will be posted when volunteers are needed to help.

Friends Help Town Seek Outside Funding

The Town of Arlington is seeking $10,000 from the Department of Environmental Management’s Lakes and Ponds grant program. The Friends prepared the grant application, which could cover approximately one-third of the cost of rebuilding the Hill’s Pond wall and improving the watershed. Awards will be announced in early March.

Winter Reminder for Dog Owners

At least two dog-related incidents were reported in early January. In the first case, a large dog bowled over a frail elder. In the second instance, dog owners were uncivil to a walker who expressed his fear of unrestrained dogs. Dog owners must remember that the rules of responsible dog ownership and common courtesy are not suspended during the Winter months.

Park News: October 1999 This Month’s Events

Wall 2000 meeting on October ??

The saga of the unsafe, unsightly pond wall continues. The rebuilding of the wall will be the subject of a Conservation Commission meeting on Thursday, September 23, at 8:00 PM at Town Hall. Friends and neighbors of the park may wish to attend and encourage the town to act on the paperwork and construction documents required to fix the wall. Although the FoMRP board voted to donate $12,000 toward the repair back in April, and the town agreed to pay the remaining costs (at least another $8,000 and probably more), progress has been slow. Director of Public Works Richard Bento is responsible for filing Notice of Intent documents required by the state, the Conservation Commission must approve the project, and the town must also advertise and evaluate bids for the work.

Daytime clean-up on Saturday, October 23

Bring your work gloves and tools and join this year’s clean-up, scheduled from 10:00 AM until 3:00 PM on Saturday, October 23 (rain date is the following day). New bark mulch will be delivered to the playground, and one team will spread it. Other projects include building a new fence for the South end of the wetland, repairing the boardwalk on the middle path, and possibly doing some erosion-control planting on the steep bank above the South end of the pond. Update with info from Sybil & David.

Spooky Walk at dusk on Saturday, October 23

Begins at 6:30 PM, costumes optional. Bigger and better than ever with ghosties and goblins and things that go bump in the night, thanks to Halloween decorations installed around the pond. This year a Grand Prize for best decorations, and if you’re interested in putting your Halloween fantasies on display, call Carol Band to reserve a spot. She’s at 648-7407.

Refreshments will be served in the Jason Street field to children who have survived the thrills and chills of the walk.

Park News: September 1999 Coming Events Edition

Tee shirts 2000 debut on Town Day

A new edition of the popular Menotomy Rocks Park tee shirts will be available on Saturday, September 18 at the Friends’ booth. These fashion essentials for the millennium come in a handsome array of new colors and styles. Also available at the booth will be maps of the park, park histories, and general information. Be sure and come by!

Wall 2000 meeting on September 23

The saga of the unsafe, unsightly pond wall continues. The rebuilding of the wall will be the subject of a Conservation Commission meeting on Thursday, September 23, at 8:00 PM at Town Hall. Friends and neighbors of the park may wish to attend and encourage the town to act on the paperwork and construction documents required to fix the wall. Although the FoMRP board voted to donate $12,000 toward the repair back in April, and the town agreed to pay the remaining costs (at least another $8,000 and probably more), progress has been slow. Director of Public Works Richard Bento is responsible for filing Notice of Intent documents required by the state, the Conservation Commission must approve the project, and the town must also advertise and evaluate bids for the work.

Clean-up 1999 set for Saturday, October 23

Bring your work gloves and tools and join this year’s clean-up, scheduled from 10:00 AM until 3:00 PM on Saturday, October 23 (rain date is the following day). New bark mulch will be delivered to the playground, and one team will spread it. Other projects include building a new fence for the South end of the wetland, repairing the boardwalk on the middle path, and possibly doing some erosion-control planting on the steep bank above the South end of the pond.

Memorial benches on the way

Donations have been pledged for four new memorial benches, with two more possibly in the offing. These sturdy and attractive teak benches will soon be professionally installed in sites approved by the Park & Recreation Commission and selected by the donors. For information about how to donate a bench, please contact MaryAnna Foskett at 646-5882.

Park News: June/July 1999 End of School Edition

New Board Members announced at Annual Meeting

The FoMRP Annual Meeting and Picnic took place on the afternoon of Sunday, May 16. Members and curiosity seekers gathered for the brief business session, then enjoyed the sunshine and the music of flautist Jill Dreeben, purchased tee-shirts and other goodies, and dined on the grass. The three new faces on the board are Arlington residents Denise Long, John Pickle, and Rachael Sokolowski. Terms were renewed for Sybil Carey, Don Mattheisen, Ben Reeve, and Ted Siegan. Outgoing board members Judy Krulewitz and Greg Blass were thanked for their many contributions to the park — Judy as past treasurer; Greg as construction leader for the Jason Street bulletin board and the new playground.

Pond Wall Repair

In April, the FoMRP board voted to contribute up to $12,000 to rebuilding the unsafe and crumbling pond wall. Director of Public Works Richard Bento will come up with the remaining funds. The Conservation Commission has approved the emergency repair of the wall, and a Conservation and Park & Recreation Commission decision is pending. If all goes well, construction will begin in early Fall. Until then, please be careful near the wall!

Memorial Benches

At its June 3 meeting, the Park & Recreation Commission approved 12 sites for memorial benches in the park; two in existing locations and 10 in new spots. Three benches have already been funded by donations, and they should be installed this Summer. For information about how to donate a bench, please contact MaryAnna Foskett (646-5882).

Bulletin Board Postings

A recent message concerning “censorship” on park bulletin boards suggests that clarification is needed. The boards give park users a convenient way to communicate about events of interest, lost-and-found objects, etc. They were never intended to be display spaces for commercial advertisements. Park neighbors have asked FoMRP to make sure that the bulletin boards do not become unsightly. With this in mind, the boards are groomed weekly to remove commercial messages, outdated event notices, and loosely attached materials.

Summer Reminder for Dog Owners

People are streaming into the park as the weather grows warmer, and dog owners are reminded that Arlingtons leash and pooper scooper laws, as well as the rules of common courtesy, apply to all dog owners. Please be especially vigilant in the vicinity of the pond; if your dog takes a dip, please dont let him shake on others.

Park News: March/April 1999 Spring Thaw Edition

Annual membership drive a success

In response to a mailing done in November, 96 households supported the Friends of Menotomy Rocks Park with membership dues and additional contributions. Their generosity raised $5,020 which will be invested in park projects. If you would like to join but didnt receive a letter at home, please contact us at the above address or on the web at www.townonline.com/arlington.

The membership form asked for comments, and many people had positive things to say about FMRP efforts to maintain and improve the park. Some asked for more hands-on projects, such as the path restoration carried out last fall. The fields, paths, and walls were cited as areas that need improvement. In terms of possible additions to the park, more benches near the playground were viewed as desirable, whereas night-time lighting and porta-potties were not. Several approved of the new signs reminding dog owners of Town laws; others cautioned that uncontrolled dogs are sometimes a nuisance.

FMRP seeks new board members

FMRP is seeking energetic, park-centered volunteers to fill three open seats on its board. For information call Anne Tulimieri, chair of the nominating committee (646-1420), or committee members MaryAnna Foskett (646-5882) or Jane Howard (648-1936).

Woodlands pass informal inspection

Charles Thompson of the New England Forestry Foundation toured the park in late January with several members of the FMRP board. He found the woodlands to be in basically good condition, with the exception of hazardous tree branches that threaten to fall on several well-traveled paths. He also recommended that pines be planted as an understory in areas where old stands of oak now predominate.

Go, Turtles, go!

On April 29, the Menotomy Rocks Turtles will once again represent the park in the annual spelling bee held to benefit the Arlington Educational Enrichment Fund. All proceeds from the bee are used to supplement programs in the Arlington public schools. Turtle members are MaryAnna Foskett, Charlotte Pierce, and Delores Scheuler. The team’s $300 entry fee comes from private donations, not from the FMRP treasury.

Park News: December 1998 Special Holiday Edition

Capital Planning for the Park

In the Capital Plan presented to Town Meeting in April, the first appropriation for Menotomy Rocks Park is $200,000 in the budget for 2002. More recently, the Parks and Recreation Commission asked that this request be delayed until 2004 so that there would be more money available for renovating playing fields. In November, FMRP President Clarissa Rowe and board member Patricia Thomas met with a Capital Planning subcommittee to suggest that it would make sense to invest smaller sums in the park at an earlier date. High priority work includes grading and repair of paths around the pond, which would make walking easier and help protect water quality. The Capital Planning group continues meeting through February to consider all requests, and will make their recommendations just prior to Aprils Town Meeting.

More tests for Hills Pond

In November, John Pickles tests found evidence of fecal coliform bacteria in the pond and wetland. More extensive tests are going to be conducted by an independent testing company engaged by Richard Bento, head of the Public Works Department. Information will be posted as soon as it becomes available.

Big donors to the Park

The Fields Pond Foundation, a stalwart supporter of FoMRP activities, recently donated $500.00 toward trail improvements in the park. A new source of corporate support is Arkwright of Waltham, which matched MaryAnna Foskett’s contribution toward a memorial bench in memory of her parents, William and Dorothy Day. The location of the new bench will be determined as part of a master plan for bench sites that will soon be presented to the Parks and Recreation Commission for their approval. It will look like the bench already in place near the playground. If you have ideas about good bench locations, please contact MaryAnna or Clarissa Rowe.

Annual Membership Drive Underway

If you would like to joint FoMRP but did not receive a letter at home, contact us at the above address or on the web at www.townonline.com/arlington. Lower-cost membership is now available to seniors.

Campfires on the paths

Every December, Arlington High School students learn basic survival skills, including fire building, in the park. This accounts for the burned spots on the road through the woods.

Park News: November 1998

Volunteers rebuild trail, spruce up park

On Saturday, October 24, more than two dozen hearty volunteers installed five water bars to help stabilize the steep trail that leads uphill from the wetland area. Professional trail manager Pete Brandenberg, an Arlington resident and frequent park user, directed the work. DPW employees Edward Banty and Mark McKeown used town equipment to clear logs from other paths. A second team collected many pounds of broken glass from popular party areas in the woods. Many FoMRP board members worked on the project and handed out refreshments and prizes. We all owe a giant vote of thanks to everyone who pitched in to create a safer, more attractive park.

New boardwalk near vernal pool

A short section of the middle footpath turns into a muddy wallow every Winter. A removable boardwalk that bridges the wet spot was designed by FoMRP board members Tom Gonsiorowski and Greg Blass and built by Tom. On October 25 it was installed by Tom, Melissa Carr, Biff Maier, and Ben Reeve. It will be stored during the Summer, when Recreation Department vans are driven on the path.

Spooky Parade a success

The largest Spooky Parade ever took place in the Park just after dark on October 24th. More than 100 children thrilled to scary boaters on Hills Pond and to an assortment of ghoulish figures on the shores. A lighted parade of children circled the Pond before heading to the Arlington Childrens Center for donuts and cider. FoMRP contributed to decorations and refreshments.

Expert to examine park trees

An expert forester from the New England Forestry Foundation will be visiting soon to assess the general health and biological diversity of the parks trees. His report will suggest what the town and FoMRP might do to keep wooded areas beautiful and interesting for future generations.

The Pickle Report on Hills Pond

Local scientist John Pickle, with help from several young assistants, is now testing the water in Hills Pond every two weeks. The initial test for fecal coliform showed bacteria both in the wetland area and the body of the pond; repeat results will be posted soon.