New Monroe park celebrated Friday

  • About 25 people attended the opening of the new park at Monroe Bridge on Friday. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • The Monroe Bridge Overlook project, which includes the creation of the new park and a retaining wall for Depot Street, was the result of work by multiple partners. Contributed photo

  • While a wooden building at the site of the former Ramage Paper/Deerfield Specialty Paper Co. was razed, a brick building on another part of the property still needs to be remediated. Contributed photo

  • Rep. Paul Mark, D-Peru, stands in the new park at Monroe Bridge. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 10/7/2019 5:45:28 AM

MONROE — Residents and tourists now have a “beautiful little park on the top of a wall” overlooking the river below that they can enjoy.

On Friday morning, Rep. Paul Mark, D-Peru, joined about 25 state and local leaders and residents at the small park built on a former industrial site on Depot Street.

“It was an older abandoned factory where debris was falling into the river,” Mark said. “Now, after so much planning and work, it’s a wonderful place. There are benches and there are plaques that give some history. It’s a nice place.”

Mark said the roughly 120 residents of Monroe should be proud of the tranquil spot.

“Finding funding when you’re doing a project in a town of 120 people is extremely difficult, but also sometimes very necessary, like this one,” Mark said. “But, local, state and federal partners worked together and accomplished it.”

He said he wrote a letter early on, when the town realized it had to raze the old factory. The next step will be to tackle the brick building on another part of the property that needs to be cleaned up.

“This is a great spot that gives people a scenic area and adds to the attractiveness of the town,” he said. “It will definitely be good for tourism. It’s very nice to look at.”

The new Monroe Bridge Overlook sits on the former Ramage Paper/Deerfield Specialty Paper Co. After more than 100 years, the mill closed in the 1990s, and the building was abandoned. The deterioration of the wooden structure was of particular concern for its potential to contaminate the Deerfield River.

The Monroe Bridge Overlook project, which includes the creation of the new park and a retaining wall for Depot Street, was the result of work by multiple partners, including the Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG).

In 2016, Monroe and FRCOG secured access to the site and had a hazardous building materials assessment completed on the wood structure. Funding for hazardous material remediation came from grants from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to the FRCOG Brownfields Program, according to the agency.

The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) worked with the town to fund the demolition of the structure and to design, engineer and construct the park and retaining wall. TransCanada (now Great River Hydro) also helped with costs.

“This was an important milestone to celebrate a lot of work,” FRCOG Economic Development Program Director Jessica Atwood said. “It’s a great little spot with an amazing view of rafters as they go by.”

Atwood said FRCOG has received a $200,000 grant and plans to use some of it for remediation of the brick building still on the site. It was the wooden building that was razed because it posed a threat to the river.

“I’ve been so impressed with the leadership of the town,” she said. “It wasn’t easy for a little town to do such a big project.”

Mark said some people in Monroe are calling the wall the park sits atop the “Great Wall of Monroe.” The park is open to the public.

Reach Anita Fritz at 413-772-0261, ext. 269 or afritz@recorder.com.




Greenfield Recorder

14 Hope Street
Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261
Fax: (413) 772-2906

 

Copyright © 2019 by Newspapers of Massachusetts, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy