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Greene's Field Committee Shares Ideas

Study group has been meeting regularly since August to consider how to proceed in renovating the downtown Needham park

Located in the heart of Needham, near the downtown and surrounded by residential streets, Greene’s Field has been on the minds of many in town in recent years.

On Tuesday, March 13, members of the Greene’s Field Study Committee acknowledged the park’s importance to the town and shared their vision for what the park could look like after renovations.

“This is an iconic park for Needham,” said Patty Carey, director of the Park and Recreation Department. “It’s in the center of town, and it says something about us."

Part of that message is that Needham cares about its families, Carey said, and with that in mind, the study committee has been meeting regularly to talk about the best way to renovate the site for Needham families.

The committee has met 10 times since Aug. 30 to discuss their ideas for the park. Carey listed some of the features the committee felt was important, including:

• A welcoming area at the park’s entrance along Great Plain Avenue, with clear signage and landscaping as well as benches and possibly a picnic area easily accessible by people working in the downtown area;

•  An active sports area, with the basketball court overhauled and backboards replaced and renovation of the natural grass areas, possibly with the aid of natural sod;

• Improved drainage on the field and grass area;

• And new fencing along Pickering Street.

The committee also recently solicited designs for the playground area from three vendors with some guidelines. The committee felt that a more natural look—subdued colors that blended in with the neighborhood around it—would be most suitable. They also wanted an area that accommodated a range of ages, with equipment for younger children (around age 2) and more challenging pieces for older children (around age 8).

The vendors provided cost estimates of between $150,000 and $175,000 for the purchase and installation of playground equipment, Carey said.

On Tuesday, she showed the committee a sample of what the playground could look like, with a mix of equipment for all ages.

Up next, the committee will seek to have selectmen endorse a plan for Greene's Field and dissolve the study committee so its members can begin fundraising efforts, according to Selectman John Bulian, the board’s liaison to the committee.

Selectmen said they wanted more time to review the proposal before proceeding.

“We have learned over the past 2-3 years that people care very much about this parcel of land, and I do think there needs to be a public process before we dig in,” Selectman Jerry Wasserman said.

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