Buttery Brook Park upgrades near completion
by Tim Kane
Final improvement phase to be finished by fall
By William Pead
SOUTH HADLEY – For more than 30 years, Buttery Brook Park has been a treasured recreation area for the families of South Hadley and other area communities. And, thanks to a $775,000 state grant, soon the much-needed improvements being made there will finally be complete.
Department of Public Works Superintendent Jim Reidy, and Friends of Buttery Brook Park Bruce Forcier took time out after a recent car show held in the park to talk about the work being done.
Reidy said the park, which dates back to 1980, “was getting a little tired.”
He said, “The park declined a little when the state pool closed down. Just wear and tear and age, so the park was due for a little upgrade.”
Improvements include a new handicap-equipped bathroom building, a new spray park, children’s play equipment a new climbing area, and renovations of the pavilions and the entrances to the park.
Reidy said the last phase of the improvements should be complete by this fall. The park closes for the winter in November, opening during that time for a visit by Santa during the last two weeks before Christmas. It opens again in the spring.
Forcier said the old log cabin and rest room facility near the parking lot have been replaced. He added, “We’ve also moved the skate park out to the front of the road. The south entrance…the north entrance, as well as basketball courts and hopefully down the road maybe some volleyball courts.” Both entrances are on Willimansett Street, Route 33.
As for events at the park like the car show and the Cruise Nights, Forcier said, “both the Cruise Night and the car show are the major fundraisers for Buttery Brook Park. We’re for the most part a self-funded park, and this money helps to fund the park.”
Reidy said, “Almost on a daily basis, I hear from friends who have little children, and Buttery Brook Park means a lot to them. Bringing their kids over to enjoy the park, and they’re looking forward to the spray park. We’re hoping, by having the spray park, it will even enhance the rental of the pavilions, ’cause they’ll have a way for the kids to cool off when they have an event. And the enhanced play area – it’s all about attracting families and making this a family-friendly park.”
Buttery Brook Park, during July, played host to a Summer Concert Series in concert with the Family Center. One rain out moved the event to town hall. But it was another example of the kind of family friendly events featured there.
Reidy called it a great venue, saying, “It’s fairly unique in that you don’t just have open fields. You’ve got a nice wooded area. It’s a unique park around the area.”
Reidy credits former DPW Superintendent Joe Taylor with being the main force in opening Buttery Brook Park back in 1980. He said the Lions Club actually built the first two pavilions at the park. He said, “In that tradition, we’re trying to keep the park going for families for future generations.”
Forcier added, “the stage area is being repaired by an Eagle Scout using it as his project.” He said it’s an indication of how many people are making sure that Buttery Brook will be a success for many years to come.