Friends of Menotomy Rocks Park

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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

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 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.

Park News: October 1998

Fall clean-up, path maintenance and prize drawing

Saturday, October 24, path crew at 10:00 AM, clean-up crew at 1:00 PM

Bring your work gloves and join one of two crews. One group will start in the morning and work with a trail maintenance expert to improve the steep, badly eroded path that rises from the wetlands area to the top of the hill. Trail workers should bring tools such as shovels, pick-axes, and heavy rakes. Experienced chain saw users would be much appreciated. The clean-up team will remove glass and other debris. Trash bags will be provided. Everyone who helps with clean up or trail maintenance is eligible for a special prize drawing.

FoMRP sponsors annual Spooky Parade

Saturday, October 24, 5:00 PM

For several years, a group of creative volunteers have organized a Halloween Spooky Parade for Arlington children. This year, FoMRP thanks them by underwriting decorations and sound effects needed to transform the park into a Halloween fun-house for children. Wear costumes and gather at 5:00 PM for a candlelit parade around Hill’s Pond, then over to Parmenter School for cider and doughnuts. All are welcome!

The Pickle Report on Hill’s Pond

Local scientist John Pickle, aided by student volunteers, is now monitoring the pond water for oxygen level, chemicals, and bacteria. Results and information about water quality will be posted on the bulletin boards. Children of all ages who are interested in helping out should call John at 646-0643, or look for him on Sundays at the pond.

Visual reminders about dogs, wetlands

On September 12 and 13, eight new signs were installed in the park. These signs remind dog owners of their legal responsibilities regarding leash and pooper-scooper laws, as well as the basic need to be considerate of other park users. Animal control officers continue to patrol regularly. Two additional signs remind anglers and nature lovers that the wetlands is off limits to people and dogs, who disturb nesting birds and roil the ecosystem by tromping around in the wetland.

What kind of tree is that?

FoMRP is planning for new descriptive labels for trees and plants in the park. If you are interested in helping with this project, please call Sybil Carey at 643-1873.

Path repair and lights for skating

Members of FoMRP have been talking with Arlington’s Department of Public Works about the repair of the washed-out road in the upper woods. We have also requested lights for winter skating. Help us by making a call to the DPW, too.

Park News: Special Back-to-School Edition September 1998

Paths and roads

Heavy rains in the late Spring caused widespread erosion and flooding. The most serious damage occurred on the road leading from the South field to the picnic area in the woods. The Department of Public Works has patched the road, and Town Engineer Richard Bento promises to carry out more substantial repairs soon. The culvert under the road needs to be replaced and the surface regraded. The Friends of Menotomy Rocks Park (FoMRP) continues to work with the town to improve poorly graded paths that allow run-off to degrade water quality.

Water testing

FoMRP has purchased equipment which will be used to monitor the water quality of Hills Pond. Initial test results will be posted on the bulletin boards. Science-minded young people who want to participate in the monitoring project should call John Pickle at 646-0643.

Crackdown on dog owners

Uncivil behavior by dog owners and their pets has caused park users to file numerous complaints with the town. As a result, Arlingtons Animal Control Officers have stepped up their patrols in the area and are reminding people of leash and pooper-scooper laws. This month eight new signs reminding dog owners of their responsibilities will be posted in prominent locations around the park.


The earthen dam that retains water in the wetland area, where particulate matter settles before the water seeps into the pond, has taken a beating from high water and from fisherman who insist on frequenting it. When humans or dogs enter the wetlands, they disturb the nesting area of songbirds, waterfowl, frogs and turtles. New signs urging people to stay out of the wetlands will be posted this month.

Fire safety

So far, the park has escaped serious fire damage this summer. The danger was reduced by the Arlington Fire Department, which arranged for removal of the wood piles left by a Spring class clean-up project. Anyone who encounters a fire in the park even a small one can protect our beautiful woods by calling it in immediately.

Special 1998 tee shirts

The 1998 Menotomy Rocks Park tee shirts are available at Divinitys Splendour-Glow at Broadway Plaza and at Bella Cosa in the Heights. They can also be obtained from Judy Weinberg at 646-0643.