The Madison Park Development Committee plans to ask the Board of Selectmen to reconsider the name of Madison's newest park. The Board of Selectmen .
Madison Park Development Committee member Kathryn Hunter said Sunday that during the committee meeting April 26 that she made a motion to ask the selectmen to reopen the issue of the park name to get additional public input and suggestions. The motion passed, Hunter said.
She said she made the motion because she has heard from several members of the public who would like the issue to be reopened.
"The public would like some input"
"This is not a mandate, it's just that the public would like some input here, or more input than they had," Hunter said Sunday.
Madison resident Gale Fearon spoke during the public portion of the meeting and recommended that something be posted on the town's website to solicit names and to post the names so that the public could respond, Hunter said.
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Fearon said Sunday that she was "thrilled" that the Madison Park Development Committee will ask the Board of Selectmen to reopen the discussion.
Suggestions from committee include Griswold Park and Madison Grasslands
"This motion was proposed and passed, so we will make that recommendation," Hunter said.
Hunter said that the Board of Selectmen several months ago asked the Madison Park Development Committee to make suggestions about the name. The committee came up with six names, Hunter said, including:
- Madison Fields
- Robert Schumann Park
- Frederick Lee Park
- Salt Meadow Park
- Griswold Park
- Madison Grasslands
Hunter said Madison Grasslands and Griswold Park received the most support among committee members during discussions in several meetings.
Naming of the park not specifically included in the committee's charge
Madison Park Development Committee Chairman George McManus said the suggested names were provided to the Board of Selectment in November, 2011.
McManus noted that naming the park was not specifically included in the committee's charge.
"We just discussed the issue at one or two meetings and passed some suggestions on to the Board of Selectmen. Our meetings are all public and we did hear some public input on the issue last fall," McManus said Sunday night.
So the Madison Park Development Committee doesn't like the name Constitution Park?
Hopeful the Board of Selectmen will reconsider
"Well, our committee did not take a vote on that out of sensitivity and respect for the Board of Selectmen," Hunter said. "My motion is worded in a soft and benign way. I'm going to say it in a different way. We are hopeful that the Board of Selectmen would consider one of the names we recommended, because they asked us for recommendations. The motion was made and I can say in all candor that we received input from members of the public asking if they could have a say in this."
When the Board of Selectmen announced the name of the new park, on March 26, Selectman Joe MacDougald said that many names were contemplated but that, in the end, the town decided to go with a name that focused on the town's heritage, rather than naming it after a specific individual.
MacDougald said the name was particularly appropriate for the park, because the park itself is a testament to how a small group of people can mobilize to take action.
Constitution Park name serves as tribute to James Madison
He noted that the decision to purchase the park was the subject of a "democratic vote." Selectman Al Goldberg noted that the name of the park is a tribute to James Madison, the fourth president of the United States, after whom the town is named.
"He wasn't just a president," Goldberg said. "He was considered by many to be the father of the Constitution ... the document by which the U.S. government operates."
The selectmen left open the option that specific elements of the park might be named as well, in the future.
Open house planned for Saturday, June 9th
The park is located at 1362 Boston Post Road, just east of the entrance to Hammonasset Beach State Park, between Route 1 and the Hammonasset River.
Town officials have said plans for the park include include 3 multi-purpose turf grass playing fields, conservation areas, coastal grassland habitat areas, shared use path and trail system that includes overlooks, an elevated walkway and canoe and kayak launch, an existing hangar building to be adapted for re-use, proposed concession and restroom building, picnic area, natural amphitheater and access driveway and parking areas for 154 vehicles.
The town also plans to transform a small, man-made excavation pit into a freshwater coastal wetlands habitat. The goal, according to town officials and a prominent local ecologist, is to create an area that would sustain a variety of plants, birds, amphibians, and other wildlife at the park.
An open house is planned for Saturday, June 9th and the public is invited to tour with members of the Madison Park Development Committee to find out more about the park.
This story was updated at 8 p.m. on Sunday, April 29 to include comments from George McManus, and again on Monday, April 30 to include information about the proposed design of the park.