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Peabody to hold ceremony for new veterans park

Posted by Terri Ogan  May 23, 2013 01:00 PM

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The city of Peabody is unveiling a new park in honor of all veterans that live in the area.

The East End Veterans Memorial Park will be officially opened in a special ribbon-cutting ceremony officiated by Mayor Edward Bettencourt on Friday May 24 at 1 p.m., rain or shine.

The park is located on Walnut Street and includes a large entry plaza way with landscaping, game tables, benches and also includes a walking path around the area.

It's a way for the thousands of veterans in Peabody to be appreciated, officials say.

"A lot of guys from World War II and the Korean War live in that area," said Chris Tighe, the veterans service director of Peabody. "It's good to them because it's giving them that recognition. They've been asking them [city officials] for some type of memorial for years, so this is huge."

An additional feature of the park is a large deck and staging area, which according to City Planner Brendan Callahan, could be used for future events.

"There's potential for concerts and things like that to happen there," Callahan said. "Nothing is lined up yet, but it lends itself for any sort of music event or theatrical type of event."

Construction for the 1.3-acre park began in June 2012. Thus far the park has cost about $1 million out of $1.5 million that has been raised for the project.

Funding has come from about five, state, federal, and local sources, Callahan said, including the BrownFields Redevelopment Funds, which finances redevelopment on vacant, or underutilized industrial or commercial properties, the Community Preservation Act funds and community donations.

The lead design was done by Horsley Witten Group of Sandwich, while construction has been handled by T Ford Company of Georgetown.

A possible downside of the project is potential flooding. Lighter rainfall will be mitigated by increased infiltration and increased flood storage capacity on the site, Callahan said, but heavier rainfall could be an issue.

Although there are no formal play structures in the park, there are large boulders that children can play on and "use their imagination," Callahan added.

"The one drawback is that there's one large grass area that hasn't fully grown in yet," Callahan said. "But it feels great that it's done for the most part."

Terri Ogan can be reached at oganglobe@gmail.com, or follow her on Twitter.

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