After more than a year of planning and organizing by the Family Action Network of Winchester, construction is ready to begin on a 1,000 square foot splash park at Borggaard Beach on Wedge Pond.
The beach was first revitalized in the early 1990s by Clarence Borggaard and Randy Schwartz with the aim to improve public access to the beach. Now almost 20 years later, FAN president Elizabeth Angelino is hoping to do the same.
"Their aim was to bring back public swimming to Winchester residents," said Angelino. "This revitalization is aiming to do the same thing. Especially in this economy where a lot of people aren't able to afford to go to the boat club or the swim club."
Even if residents could afford either club, there is a seven-year waiting list for each one.
"This would offer a way to revitalize the beach, have public access to the water and help offer a chance to revitalize the local economy by keeping people local," said Angelino.
Right now the $189,000 project has been sent out to contractors for bidding. If all goes according to plan, Angelino said construction can start in the next several weeks and could take between six to eight weeks to complete. In the best case scenario, Angelino is hoping residents will be able to enjoy the new splash park for at least a week or two before the season ends.
"It's a multigenerational facility," said Angelino. "It has amenities for ages up to 14. But what we found from our research is that these amenities provide a place for seniors and others to go to beat the heat and it's also located right next to senior housing. If you don't have air conditioning, it would be really nice to be at a community gathering place where you can enjoy the summer."
Angelino and FAN have spent the past year organizing more than dozen different fundraisers and were able to raise 70 percent of the $189,000 cost of the new park. As the project enters its final phases before construction, Angelino said the overwhelming support for the project helped to make the process run smoothly and expressed her gratitude for the hard work put in by Winchester residents.
"We worked hard and it took a year, but we raised the money," said Angelino. "What's really telling is that we we had over 800 private donations from Winchester residents. That to me is telling me that it's a community project that is supported by Winchester residents. It was such a great collaboration between the town and FAN that we're just really appreciative of all their help."
For more information on the Borggaard Beach Revitalization Project visit www.fansplash.org.