Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

October 10, 2013

The Park: Perfection, plain and simple

The Andover Townsman

---- — It’s known simply as The Park, the picturesque expanse at Chestnut and Bartlet streets adjacent to the Town Offices building.

It’s a fairly benign name for a site that is anything but.

Andover undoubtedly knows what a treasure it has in its Park. On any given day, in any given month, the turn--of-the-century Park has the ability to draw visitors in for a stroll, a momentary escape from the otherwise whirl of a hectic world.

In summers, all ages can be found sitting on wooden benches or the lush green grass, the branches of towering trees providing shelter from the blazing hot sun. Kids romp on the brick pathways. Music regularly filters from the bandstand — which turned 100 this year — and fills the warm air.

Come fall, the foliage turns vibrant shades of red, orange and yellow. There’s a nip now in the air and the scene turns classic New England, with leaves crunching beneath feet as the pace quickens with every degree drop in temperature.

The attraction to the Park continues in winter, when the landscape is blanketed in crisp, white snow, and then again in spring, when nature springs back to life.

In every season, there is much to revere about the Park.

Town officials have begun a review of the 20-acre tract around the Town Offices that includes the Park. A group of parents would love to see a playground for the town’s youngster incorporated into some portion of the property. There’s debate over the appropriateness of the World War I German War cannon that stands sentry at one entrance to the Park. Others likely have their own ideas,

As with all public attractions, it makes sense to take a look at the Park every now and then to see what needs to be repaired or tweaked. As town planner Lisa Schwarz says there have been little improvements made here and there to the Park over time and they have only served to make it a better place.

We can’t argue with the benefits of that type of introspection. What we don’t think would be beneficial is too much tinkering. Andover is blessed with its share of open spaces and public places in which to enjoy the outdoors. The return of a playground on the fringes of the Park would add even more youthful energy to the site. But the Park proper serves an important function and its quaintness and simple beauty should be maintained. Don’t fix what’s not broken, the adage goes. And I think Andover residents would be hard-pressed to find much broken with the Park.

Hitting the recycling payload

Kudos to Andover for hosting what’s being called a record-breaking, one-day recycling drive for the state. More than 700 people turned out at Brickstone Square this past Saturday to unload no longer needed appliances, tools, furniture, gadgets, electronics and just about everything else one could pack in a car or U-Haul.

Organizers say the event, co-sponsored by the MBTA’s Environmental Affairs Department and the Andover Recycling Committee, collected more than 100,000 pounds of items. Volunteers filled eight, 30-yard Dumpsters and another 200 giant, corrugated cardboard boxes with materials that will now be recycled rather than clog landfills or be disposed of improperly.

While the recycling day attracted people from all across the region, we know many Andover residents took the opportunity to clean out some unwanted clutter while doing their part for the environment.

The event set a great example for the rest of the state, and Andover should be proud for having a hand in it.