Ipswich River Park
Ipswich River Park is a 49 acre site at the junction of Haverhill, Central and Chestnut Streets in North Reading, Massachusetts. The property was taken by eminent domain and settled for a price of $1,450,000. In 1994 and 1995 the Town applied for and received a total of $1,000,000 in development grants from the Land and Water Conservation Fund and from the Urban Self-Help Program. Another $25,000 was received as a canoe launch grant from the Public Access Board. By accepting these grants, The Town matched $724,000. Half of the matching funds needed were supported through the Hillview Enterprise Fund and the balance through fund-raising. Fund-raising has been spearheaded by the Land Utilization Committee. It has been a town-wide effort with enthusiastic support from local businesses, leagues, the Recreation Committee, and private citizens.
This massive project was originated from an idea brought forth by the original Hillview Commission in 1992. The Land Utilization Committee and the Hillview Commission are charged with investigation and channeling of excess funds into open space projects. This project fulfills that charge and goal.
Completed features include conservation area and restored wetlands, a paved two-mile walking path, parking areas, a canoe launch, wild flower meadows, gazebo and flagpole, tennis and basketball courts, playgrounds and picnic areas, softball, baseball, soccer and all-purpose fields, a street hockey rink, and horseshoe pits. Long and short range fund-raising goals are to add some of the following: volleyball courts, bike trails, more trees and benches, picnic tables, and walking trails that lead to the center of North Reading. The adjacent five-acre Wheeler property was added to the property in 1998.
This $3.2 million facility is a one-of-a-kind treasure. Planning and building Ipswich River Park has been truly a community project. Established for active and passive recreation, this park is dedicated to all North Reading citizens-past, present, and future-and promises to hold "something for everyone."
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