In December 2016, the Town received $400,000 in grant funding through the Massachusetts Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities (PARC) program for park improvements to the King Oak Hill property, also known as the Emery Estate. The Town Council voted unanimously to accept the grant and approved $1.7 million in borrowing for the project cost. Proposed improvements at King Oak Hill included parking to accommodate public use, safe vehicle and pedestrian access from Emery Lane, a pavilion and restroom building to support outdoor events, and a loop walking path to highlight the property’s isolation and open space.
In January 2017, the Town hired Shadley Associates of Lexington to design King Oak Hill Park as an accessible public space for passive recreation and programed outdoor events. Two public meetings were held on the design of the park, and a third meeting was held prior to construction to help residents become fully acquainted with the project scope and anticipated work schedule.
The site plan for King Oak Hill Park separates the park's vehicular and pedestrian elements, and includes the following park improvements:
- Resurfacing of Emery Lane
- Sidewalks and curbing
- Park gate and raised crosswalk
- 54 parking spaces (reduced from 90)
- Drop-off area with bicycle and handicapped parking
- Drainage swale and stormwater infiltration area
- Pipe connection to underground drainage system
- 1,500-SF outdoor open pavilion
- 500-SF restroom building
- Interpretive panel and wayfinding signage
- Loop walking path with benches (100% accessible)
In October 2017, the Town awarded a general construction contract to MDR Construction Company of Tewksbury. Construction began in October 2017.
The park was dedicated on October 22, 2018.
The PARC program was established in 1977 to assist cities and towns in acquiring and developing land for park and outdoor recreation purposes. These grants can be used to acquire parkland, build a new park, or renovate an existing park. Any municipality with an unexpired Open Space and Recreation Plan is eligible to apply for the program. PARC grants are paid as reimbursement grants for work completed.
The PARC program was identified as a potential funding source for King Oak Hill Park in the spring of 2016. Conceptual design plans for the new public space were prepared by the Town's Engineering Division in partnership with Planning and Recreation staff. These plans were presented to residents at a public informational meeting in June 2016. The Town's PARC grant was submitted in July 2016.
- Video: King Oak Hill Park Dedication and Ribbon Cutting (WETC, Oct 2018)
- Event Invitation: King Oak Hill Park Dedication (DPCD, Oct 2018)
- Conservation Restriction (Town-EOEEA, Aug 2018)
- Park Interpretive Panel (Shadley Associates, Apr 2018)
- Video: Development Update - Emery Estate - King Oak Hill Park (WETC)
- Video: Public Meeting #3 (WETC, Oct 2017)
- Presentation: Public Meeting #3 (DPCD, Oct 2017)
- Announcement: Public Meeting #3 (DPCD, Oct 2017)
- Site Plan for Construction (Shadley Associates, Oct 2017)
- Video: Public Meeting #2 (WETC, Mar 2017)
- Presentation: Public Meeting #2 (Shadley Associates, Mar 2017)
- Announcement: Public Meeting #2 (DPCD, Mar 2017)
- Video: Public Meeting #1 (WETC, Feb 2017)
- Presentation: Public Meeting #1 (Shadley Associates, Feb 2017)
- Announcement: Public Meeting #1 (DPCD, Feb 2017)
- Video: Borrowing Authorization - Public Hearing (WETC, Dec 2016)
- Presentation: Borrowing Authorization - Public Hearing (DPCD, Dec 2016)
- Video: Pre-Grant Application Public Meeting (WETC, Jun 2016)
- Presentation: Pre-Grant Application Public Meeting (DPCD, Jun 2016)
- Announcement: Pre-Grant Application Public Meeting (DPCD, Jun 2016)
- Announcement: Public Meeting - Portuguese Translation (DPCD, Jun 2016)