Thank you to correspondent Christine Schell for the following story and photos.
“Erica, we love you!” declared opening speaker Randy Waters, Director of the Natick Housing Authority, at the Erica Ball Community Garden dedication on September 8. Nearly 75 people attended the event, with several local and state leaders speaking passionately about Erica “Ricky” Ball’s commitment to and outsized influence on Natick.
Ricky perched center stage at her own picnic table, while husband Jay Ball stayed with the crowd taking photos of the speakers and Ricky.
Natick Select Board member Paul Joseph teared up during his speech, then took a breath and forged ahead, drawing parallels between Ricky’s 60-year dedication to Natick and the Garden’s purpose of nurturing community and nourishing people.
Slam poet Jamele Adams performed a poem honoring Ricky, calling her a “boss” who “leaves a mark on your skin, brain, and heart.”
Other speakers in attendance included Natick resident and MA State Rep David Linsky, and Massachusetts Senate president Karen Spilka who called Ricky a “giant in the Natick community in every aspect of the word” and a “beacon of a public servant.”
But the fan favorite, the true luminary, and the brightest star of the night was Ricky. She reflected on the many positive changes in Natick over the years, and expressed humorous regret that she and Jay have chosen this time to relocate to Canton. She said that coming to Natick was the best thing that ever happened to her, and then promised, “I’ll be back.” If you know Ricky, you won’t doubt that.
Be a part of Natick’s growth industry
Natick has four community gardens—The J.J. Lane Park Gardens at 185 Speen Street; the Eric Markman Interfaith Community Gardens near A Place to Turn at 99 Hartford Street; Navy Yard Park Community Gardens at 56-48 Washington Avenue; and the Erica Ball Community Gardens, behind the Housing Authority offices at 72 South Main Street.
Registration information on how to sign up for your own garden plot.
Questions about the community gardens program can be directed to the Community Gardens Coordinator at email@example.com or by calling 508-647-6400 ext. 2013.
Please send tips, photos, ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org
Elaine Ostroff says
Thanks for covering this extraordinary event honoring Ricky Ball. Her efforts have set a standard for community involvement and generosity. The “garden” is a perfect idea…it embodies the growing energy and vitality that is Erica Ball