In May 20
12, the largest town meeting in Plympton’s history, 377 residents voted almost unanimously to create two new adjoining PARKS for Plympton - Churchill PARK and Cato’s Ridge Conservation Area- based on a proposal by the Plympton Open Space Committee to the Plympton Community Preservation Committee. The town meeting vote culminated a sustained town-wide campaign that involved residents of all ages and many civic organizations.
At the time of the vote, Plympton was one of only two towns in Massachusetts with just 1% of its’ land permanently protected and open to the public. (The state average is 28%). In 2008, in response to a town-wide survey, residents rated the “preservation of Plympton’s rural character” and “the creation of protected open space for all to enjoy” as the top priorities.
These two new PARKS were created for the very low total net cost to the town of $19,000 from Community Preservation Funds. In 2015, a neighboring third section was added - the O’Neil Marsh - which was donated by long-time resident Roger O’Neil to the town. This third section provides access to the PARKS from Ring Road (and the Dennett Elementary School), as well as extensive wetland habitats to enjoy. Together, these three new conservation areas provide town residents 105 acres for outdoor recreation, environmental education and historical exploration.
Our thanks go to Churchill family descendants, the Messinger family & Roger O’Neil for working with us to donate their family lands to the town. We also thank David and Linda McMorrow and Roger O’Neil for providing temporary access to the Parks from Ring Road these past few years while the Churchill Park parcel was being finalized.
From 2012 – 2015, a number of legal and technical obstacles were resolved, leaving just one more hurdle before the PARKS could be fully enjoyed - raising funds to provide PARK amenities, including building a 600 foot long boardwalk over the Jones River Brook marsh. In 2014, the Wildlands Trust, the Friends of PlymptonPARKS and the Open Space Committee partnered together to mount the “Bridge to the Ridge” Campaign to raise these funds. Thanks to the generous support of 350 people and organizations, the Campaign exceeded its goal. As a result, the Wildlands Trust, (a non-profit land trust), now has a special fund to support PlymptonPARKS and open space activities. Many of the Campaign’s supporters chose to inscribe a boardwalk plank or bench, sharing their special inspirations for all to enjoy.
Our grateful thanks go to Congressman William Keating for his early crucial assistance in securing the Main Street parcel, and to the Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts for its important help and involvement in many ways, especially securing the O’Neil Marsh. We also send enormous thanks to over 100 volunteers whose talents, dedication and hard work, especially over the past year, have created the boardwalk, benches and trails for us all to enjoy. The Wildlands Trust has been a close working partner from the beginning of this project, providing its expertise and advice in numerous ways. The Trust holds the Conservation Restriction for Churchill PARK, which is required by the Community Preservation Act.
The Plympton Open Space Committee has daily responsibility for the operational management of the new PARKS, under the guidance and authority of the Plympton Conservation Commission, which has legal responsibility for these and other town conservation lands. The Friends of PlymptonPARKS is a close ally in all PARK activities.
If you are interested in volunteering in the PARKS or other open space/conservation projects, please contact one of these groups. We would love to have you involved!