Town Manager Plans to Meet with Mack on Ice Skating Pond

After learning that Moose Hill Orchards owner Andy Mack is offering the use of the pond behind his farm stand for winter ice skating, Town Manager Kevin Smith said he took interest and would like to have a meeting with him to talk more about his proposal.

“There has been lots of interest in having a pond or ice skating rink centrally located in the town for people to use. To that extent, I think it’s a great idea,” he said.

“It would be so remarkably easy to do,” Mack said. “Someone would just have to be there as they would with any skating pond as an overseer to take care of cleaning the pond and safety features.”

Ice covers the pond nicely after a couple of cold days, and a shed in close proximity would offer storage space for shovels and machines used for curing ice, as well as a wooden ladder, which Mack said is one of the best tools to have on hand at a skating pond for safety.

Another attractive feature of the 7- to 8-foot-deep pond, which Mack said is approximately 100 feet across in some portions, is its close proximity to Mack’s Apples’ parking lot.

“We keep the lot plowed,” Mack said. “And when we signed over development rights, we gave the Town the right to do extra things in the area around the pond to facilitate use of the pond by the public – they could build a public toilet, a changing room, or add sand on the beach. That’s written into the Development Rights Agreement. They could improve the road that goes in. It wouldn’t be difficult to add 10 to 12 parking spaces.”

Mack said they could even get power to the pond if someone wants to make hot chocolate.

In addition to offering the pond to the Town, Mack is advocating for improvements to local trails, as well as developing the Town Forest into a natural schoolroom.

“A carefully designed wooded park would serve everyone,” he said.

Additionally, Mack calls for attention to what he calls the east/west trails. “We don’t need to pave these trails, but they do need a layer of stone dust,” he said.

The East Trail begins at the intersection of King Phillip and King Charles drives, running up to the recreation ball fields and eventually to Town Hall.

“The West Trail comes up behind the middle school, where we need to bridge a wet area on that trail, which would make it all the more beautiful. Those trails are really no-brainers in my mind,” Mack said, adding he would like to see a bridge across Black Brook to improve the walkways that run between the four schools in the center of town.

“(Andy Mack) expressed to me his wanting to see those trails upgraded in the future so they can connect centrally the eastern and western neighborhoods,” Smith said.

When asked if he thinks the improvements could be funded in the near future, Smith said, “Until I see some actual conceptual design, it’s hard to say what the cost would be of doing something like that.”

But moving forward, Smith did say he would like to discuss Mack’s thoughts on improving the center of town further.

“This wouldn’t make a dent in the budget,” Mack said, adding if there’s ever a time to get kids on bikes and foot, it’s now. “Let’s create things that will put people together.”

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