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Smith Academy Park begins renovation

  • A crew from Henry C. Kocot & Sons, of Deerfield, works at Smith Academy Park in Hatfield on April 9, 2018, as part of the improvements being undertaken by general contractor Omasta Landscaping, Inc., of Hatfield. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Omasta Landscaping Inc., of Hatfield, is the general contractor for the improvements to Smith Academy Park, next to Hatfield Memorial Town Hall, seen at left on Monday. Below, the commemorative Smith Academy site boulder is located near the large sycamore at the northeast corner of the park. GAZETTE STAFF/KEVIN GUTTING PHOTOS

  • A crew from Henry C. Kocot & Sons, of Deerfield, works at Smith Academy Park in Hatfield on April 9, 2018, as part of the improvements being undertaken by general contractor Omasta Landscaping, Inc., of Hatfield. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • A crew from Henry C. Kocot & Sons, of Deerfield, works at Smith Academy Park in Hatfield on April 9, 2018, as part of the improvements being undertaken by general contractor Omasta Landscaping, Inc., of Hatfield. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • This view, looking north from the Hatfield Memorial Town Hall, shows Smith Academy Park where improvements are being undertaken by general contractor Omasta Landscaping, Inc., of Hatfield on Monday, April 9, 2018. There is to be a bandstand or gazebo in the center of the park sited between what will be two curving sidewalks. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • A crew from Henry C. Kocot & Sons, of Deerfield, works at Smith Academy Park in Hatfield on April 9, 2018, as part of the improvements being undertaken by general contractor Omasta Landscaping, Inc., of Hatfield. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • This commemorative Smith Academy site boulder is located near the large sycamore at the northeast corner of Smith Academy Park in Hatfield. GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING



Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 11, 2018

HATFIELD — Smith Academy Park, considered an underutilized site in town center, is undergoing the first phase of a renovation aimed at making it a destination for the community.

Omasta Landscaping Inc., of Hadley, is working at the quarter-acre site, next to Memorial Town Hall and bordered by Main and School streets, executing a landscaping plan developed by Martha Lyon Landscape Architecture in Northampton.

Rich Abbott, a member of the Open Space Committee who has coordinated the project, said that the work includes removing overgrown vegetation, building new paths that mimic the original walkways at the 1871 Smith Academy building that stood on the site until the early 1980s, and installing surface lighting and benches.

Stones commemorating Hatfield veterans and marking the site of the original school are also being repositioned, and at the center of the park footing is being put in place for a future pavilion. Abbott said the site is being regraded so it is fully handicapped accessible.

The work, which should be done by May 31, will cost about $240,000, Abbott said, with $50,000 from a state Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities grant and the remainder from the town’s Community Preservation Act account.

Abbott said the annual Memorial Day event, as well as the Luminarium and performances by community bands, may be among activities that will happen at the revived park.

The town doesn’t yet have the money to build the pavilion during the second phase, though Abbott said efforts will begin seeking support from local businesses, holding fundraisers and perhaps requesting additional state money.

“Ideally that will be done next year,” Abbott said.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.