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Upton Park Has Come a Long Way

Upton resident George Patterson of the New England Antiquities Research Association volunteers some time at the Upton Heritage Park.

It's been a number of years since residents voted to purchase the 18 Elm St. property and turn it into a park for residents to enjoy. Since that time, the Historical Commission, which oversees the park's activities, has been busy readying the seven acres of land.

"We've really done a lot of work," said Cathy Taylor of the Historical Commission. Soon, the Commission is hoping to formally open the area up for passive recreational activities including hiking, walking, kayaking, and bird watching. "It's a very diverse area, but also very peaceful," said Taylor, who added the property will be officially named the Upton Heritage Park when opened.

One of the most interesting parts of the property is a historical cave located near the entrance of the park. The cave, or chamber as it is known, is one of more than 300 stone chambers found throughout New England and is considered to be one of the largest. It is six-feet high and fourteen feet long. Recently, voters approved funding at a Special Town Meeting for additional historical research and to repair some of its stones for safety reasons. In addition, the New England Antiquities Research Association, (NEARA), donated $2,000 toward the cost of archeology of the site.

At the entrance of the park, an abandoned home was safely burned down this past winter through a fire drill exercise lead by the Upton Fire Department during which local communities also took part in.

Readying the property for hiking and walking has required extensive clearing which the Land Stewardship Committee oversaw. With the help of Upton residents, NEARA, and the Land Stewardship Committee, invasive olive trees and other invasive plants have also been cleared.

The Historical Commission is working with a consultant from Garden in the Woods to help assess the area for future landscaping using all native plantings. "Native plantings are easiest to keep up," said Taylor. The Commission is also looking for financial support for native plantings. An anonymous donor promises to match donations up to $500 for the native plantings.

A number of other donations have come forward, including the design costs for a wooden carved sign to be posted at the entrance. Also, the Perkins family of Upton donated a bench to honor their parents,


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