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Senior citizens, veterans will volunteer as park rangers

Mayor William Martin said last fall that he would like to eventually hire several park rangers to patrol town parks, including Hillside Park, above, but because of budgetary constraints he will start with volunteers and see how it goes.
(Recorder file/Paul Franz)

Mayor William Martin said last fall that he would like to eventually hire several park rangers to patrol town parks, including Hillside Park, above, but because of budgetary constraints he will start with volunteers and see how it goes. (Recorder file/Paul Franz) Purchase photo reprints »

GREENFIELD — It looks like, at least for now, the town will enlist the aid of some of its seniors and veterans to patrol its parks. They would come from those taking advantage of the property tax work-off program.

Mayor William Martin said last fall that he would like to eventually hire several park rangers to patrol town parks, but because of budgetary constraints he will start with volunteers and see how it goes.

“I’m working with the Recreation Department and Human Resources,” said Martin. “I think this can be a win-win for the town.”

Martin suggested the town hire park rangers when it came to his attention that there were big problems in the Hillside Park area.

Residents began complaining to police and the mayor that drug deals were taking place in the park. Vandals had also drawn and carved swastikas and other hateful graffiti and obscenities on picnic tables throughout the park.

“I see them as eventually becoming paid positions,” said Martin. “The rangers will be the eyes and ears of the park.”

Martin said rangers will not carry weapons, but instead will “watch and report” the happenings in the town’s parks, especially Hillside, the Greenfield Energy Park, the town’s swimming pool on Nashs Mill Road and Green River Park, which are all more removed than a park like Beacon Field, which is located in the middle of a busy neighborhood.

Martin said each ranger would have a weekly schedule. He said the sheriff’s office and Greenfield Police Department would provide training.

The mayor said he hopes to have rangers in the parks by July.

The town’s senior and veteran work-off programs offer a tax break of $500 and $1,000 each year respectively to seniors and veterans who volunteer their time to the town.

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