|Williamstown to Mark Margaret Lindley Park's 50th Anniversary|
|By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff|
03:47AM / Monday, July 31, 2017
|Margaret Lindley Park in South Williamstown is marking 50 years this year.|
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Margaret Lindley Park has been a destination for generations of area youngsters and anyone looking for a cool spot on a hot summer day.
But there are still people who do not fully appreciate the little park near the junction of Routes 7 and 2 in South Williamstown.
Organizers of an Aug. 5 birthday celebration for the park hope to change that.
"The way I look at it is we need to make people aware of Margaret Lindley Park," Sarah Foehl said this week. "There are people who have lived in Williamstown a long time, and they're thinking it's the old Margaret Lindley Park. It's a wonderful asset we have in town."
The town and the Conservation Commission, which manages the park, have put a lot of time and effort into maintaining and fixing up the park in recent years. On Saturday, Aug. 5, from noon to 3, the public is invited to a celebration of the park's 50th anniversary.
There will be a cookout with watermelon and birthday cake, games, self-guided hikes on the park's newly restored trails and, of course, swimming.
"This has been a team effort, starting with the Conn Comm," said Foehl, who got involved with the project as a member of the commission. "I agreed to work on it with Bob Hatton, a wonderful man who was there at the beginning when the park was just being put together.
"Leslie Reed-Evans at Williamstown Rural Lands has been terrific helping us out, and, of course, Town Hall, including [Town Manager] Jason Hoch and, particularly, Debbie Turnbull."
Reed-Evans helped the commission find grant money to purchase materials like nets and magnifying glasses that children can use to explore wildlife at the park, where tadpoles are often as important as inner tubes for young visitors.
Hatton partnered with another Margaret Lindley Park veteran, Pam Weatherbee, to remark the trails on site.
"We have republished a booklet that came out in 1977," Weatherbee said. "We have rewritten it and put in a guided nature walk. … They can read about a species of trees or the landscape — how the brook has carved the landscape — or other plants and ferns. It also points out the size of some of the trees. There are some really large trees there, mostly hemlocks."
Tall trees and shallow water are two of the hallmarks of Margaret Lindley Park.
"It's mostly sort of for younger children because it's not that deep," Weatherbee said of the park's pond. "I think it's a wonderful introduction for younger kids because they have the beach and the sand and the salamanders and frogs for them to find. It's shallow so they can be gradually introduced to the water."
Weatherbee said her history goes back to the beginning, when community leaders like Hatton helped secure state funds to help the town acquire the property.
"I think it's great that it's lasted for 50 years, and it's still being used and appreciated," she said. "It's had various upgrades and improvements along the way. On a warm sunny weekend or a sunny day, it's quite busy."
How busy it will be next Saturday is anyone's guess.
"The only problem is we have no idea how many people will come," Foehl said. "We asked people to RSVP [through the Facebook page dedicated to the park]. Twenty-nine have so far, but I'm sure we'll have more than that."
The event is free and open to public on Saturday, Aug. 5, from noon to 3. The rain date is Aug. 6. Overflow parking will be available near the park.