Communities are supposed to refresh their open space & recreation plans every 7 years to keep in good standing with the state and qualify for possible grants to fund everything from water clean-ups to new playground gear. Natick’s a little behind in getting its new Open Space & Recreation plan formalized (its last one is from 2012), but it’s close.
It’s an interesting read not only about open space and recreation, but a good catch-up on town demographics and history, too.
The report waxes poetic in parts: “Heading east toward South Natick village, the views to the south of the Charles River and the large undeveloped expanses of woodlands on the opposite shore are exquisite, topped only by the turn down past the historic Bacon Free Library and the South Natick Dam, where the Charles River cascades over the falls and under a historic stone arch bridge, as canoeists and a variety of birds share the water.” (Didn’t see any mention of the possibility of Natick scrapping the dam, as neighbors and visitors fear could happen.)
The report acknowledges that there isn’t a lot of land in Natick to play with these days, even though needs are increasing for resources such as new or at least refurbished playing fields. Meanwhile, the town looks to protect various wildlife species in jeopardy due to development.
The town also seeks to improve connectivity among its trails, even as the system blossoms with the emergence of the rail trail. What’s more, it sees a need to better promote, through signage and other means, the open space opportunities that exist to residents and visitors, including those with accessibility challenges. Pocket parks, better cycling opportunities (road and mountain), and pickle ball courts are among other interest areas cited in the draft plan.