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Groundbreaking signals start of Spec Pond renovations

Date: 11/23/2010

Nov. 22, 2010

By Chris Maza

Reminder Assistant Editor

WILBRAHAM -- Members of the Wilbraham Parks and Recreation Department and the Friends of Recreation (FOR) gathered on Nov. 18 to celebrate the groundbreaking of the first stages of work on the Spec Pond Recreational Complex.

Standing on what will be one of the three baseball and softball diamonds, Parks and Recreation Director Bryan Litz, along with FOR President Dave Clini and Chris Pinney, wife of the late FOR founder and first president Brad Pinney, took the time to thank local businesses and private parties alike for their generous donations.

Litz also credited Gagliarducci Construction for its contributions to the facilities and welcomed Jerry Gagliarducci as the honorary campaign chairperson.

After children from the community donning yellow plastic construction hats dug their shovels into the dirt and tossed it onto a pile -- and in some cases each other -- Litz reflected on how it felt to finally see the hard work, planning and fundraising finally being put to use.

"It's a huge relief. You put the project together and you have this great vision and you're never quite sure if it's going to become a reality," Litz said. "It's amazing, the amount of generosity of the local businesses and the community that has put us over half our goal for the capital [fundraising] campaign. You're seeing the start of two years' worth of work. Over the next two years, we're going to start seeing fields being built, playgrounds, things being renovated here. It's really exciting."

According to Litz, even without a state grant the town applied for, the project is still going forward as anticipated.

"We're right on target. We had three major goals. One of them, we were not successful. The other two, we have been extremely successful," Litz said. "We're right on, as expected. We're expecting to get everything we had hoped done. As long as we reach our fundraising goal, we will be able to accomplish everything we have set out to do."

Litz said that while no major fundraising events will take place over the winter, the campaign will continue.

"Right now we're just reaching out to the public, trying to get anyone and everyone to donate to the capital campaign," Litz said.

Litz pointed out that while the carving out of the baseball diamond is the first step, the project will encompass a great number of things.

"Sports fields are just one component of the complex," Litz said. "We have walking and jogging trails. We're going to have a dog park, which a lot of people are excited about. We're going to have a dock so people who fish here can have more access to the pond. The beach is going to undergo improvements and an accessible to all playground is something a lot of people are excited about.

"We have a lot of things that are going to go into this park and it's going to reach a lot of kids from infants through seniors."