Work begins on city’s Terrill Park upgrades along Merrimack River

  • Work has begun on cutting down trees near Terrill Park in Concord. GEOFF FORESTER photos / Monitor staff

  • Work has begun on cutting down trees near Terrill Park in Concord. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • An illustration of Concord’s Terrill Park master plan. Courtesy

Published: 2/21/2020 5:51:23 PM
Modified: 2/21/2020 5:51:10 PM

The redesign of Terrill Park in the south end of the city started this week with tree cutting along the Merrimack River.

The removal of mixed trees along the river, including some slowly dying elms, will clear the path for the long-planned Merrimack River Greenway Trail, as well as open the area to a relocated dog park and an improved parking lot.

Each phase of the park’s master plan is fully permitted for construction, which means once funding is available, requests for proposals to do the work can go out, said Concord Parks and Recreation Director David Gill.

Phase I, which includes leveling and paving portions of the greenway trail, relocating and rebuilding the dog park, and building a new parking lot farther up the hill are budgeted to cost $348,000, with $178,760 from the city and the rest from a $100,000 grant by the state Land and Water Conservation Fund and $69,000 donated by the Friends of the Merrimack River Greenway Trail.

The park is on the east bank of the Merrimack River near Exit 13 of Interstate 93.

If everything goes according to plan, a contractor will be hired and the work will begin in early April, Gill said.

“By late April, workers should be down there getting things going,” Gill said.

Work should last through the summer and be completed by August. At certain points during construction, public access to the dog park will be interrupted, Gill said.

The crown jewel of the plan is a synthetic turf athletic field that can be used year-round. Funding for that project and accompanying parking lot hasn’t been approved yet, however multiple athletic and club teams have expressed support.

The field would likely be a multi-million-dollar undertaking, Gill said, but it would also generate revenue in the form of rental fees.

“It would definitely bring in revenue, but I don’t think it will cover the cost,” Gill said. “To say it’s going to cover the entire cost of the park is probably not going to be realistic.”

Funding for the final phases of the park will come up before the city council in the future.

“There’s a lot of excitement and opportunity, but we’re not quite there yet,” Gill said.

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