Shelburne partners with Franklin Tech for construction of pocket park pavilion

Franklin County Technical School 11th grade carpentry student Kylee Gamache at the pavilion build in Shelburne Falls. “It feels nice working here. I’ve got a family that comes through here quite a bit and I can tell them, ‘Look, I built that,’” Gamache said.

Franklin County Technical School 11th grade carpentry student Kylee Gamache at the pavilion build in Shelburne Falls. “It feels nice working here. I’ve got a family that comes through here quite a bit and I can tell them, ‘Look, I built that,’” Gamache said. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Franklin County Technical School carpentry students work on roof trusses at the pavilion build in Shelburne Falls.

Franklin County Technical School carpentry students work on roof trusses at the pavilion build in Shelburne Falls. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Franklin County Technical School carpentry students are building a pavilion on the lot at the corner of Deerfield Avenue and Bridge Street in Shelburne Falls.

Franklin County Technical School carpentry students are building a pavilion on the lot at the corner of Deerfield Avenue and Bridge Street in Shelburne Falls. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Franklin County Technical School carpentry students are building a pavilion on the lot at the corner of Deerfield Avenue and Bridge Street in Shelburne Falls.

Franklin County Technical School carpentry students are building a pavilion on the lot at the corner of Deerfield Avenue and Bridge Street in Shelburne Falls. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Franklin County Technical School carpentry students are building a pavilion on the lot at the corner of Deerfield Avenue and Bridge Street in Shelburne Falls.

Franklin County Technical School carpentry students are building a pavilion on the lot at the corner of Deerfield Avenue and Bridge Street in Shelburne Falls. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

By BELLA LEVAVI

Staff Writer

Published: 12-08-2023 1:29 PM

Modified: 12-08-2023 2:01 PM


SHELBURNE — Thanks to a partnership between the town and Franklin County Technical School, a new pavilion is being added at the pocket park at the corner of Bridge Street and Deerfield Avenue, marking Phase 2 of the construction effort.

The town entered into a seven-year lease with Josh Simpson and three other business partners to rent the undeveloped grassy area.

For Phase 1 of the pocket park’s creation, the town received half of a Rapid Recovery Plan grant administered by the Franklin Regional Council of Governments to be split between Shelburne and Buckland. Each town received $8,000. With Shelburne’s half of the funds, the town bought four picnic tables made from recycled materials and graded the front half of the park to be used for outdoor dining.

Then for Phase 2, the town used about $12,169 from its “beautification fund” to pay to build a pavilion. Money in this fund was contributed by film companies that used Shelburne as a set, such as the TV show “Dexter: New Blood” that aired in 2021. Shelburne has about $14,000 in the beautification budget.

The town partnered with Franklin Tech for the pavilion’s construction. The town pays for the cost of materials, plus 20% extra to pay for other costs like busing for the students. Partnering with the school means the town does not need to pay for labor, saving the municipality money while giving the students hands-on experience.

“The Carpentry Department gets hands-on experience in the real world by building out in the community,” explained carpentry instructor Shane Parker.

He noted the class is working on the pavilion, as well as a house on Petty Plain Road in Greenfield that is sponsored by a local bank and a project at the school that entails building a classroom for another vocational department.

The crew includes junior Kylee Gamache, who chose carpentry because she likes working outside. She said she plans to get a co-op job next year and stick with working in the trades for her career.

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“It feels nice working here. I’ve got a family that comes through here quite a bit and I can tell them, ‘Look, I built that,’” Gamache said.

The class hops back and forth between the projects. Selectboard member Andrew Baker explained this method takes longer than working with a contractor, “but we are not in a hurry.”

The pavilion project gives the students experience with post framing, trusses and roofing, as well as use of both hand and power tools.

For Phase 3, the town is looking into either using a Commonwealth Places matching grant from MassDevelopment (which the town plans to apply for a second time following an unsuccessful application last year) or use money from the town’s newly created Community Preservation Act (CPA) fund. The work of Phase 3 will entail grading the rest of the park, incorporating landscaping designed by Sowing Solutions and adding an amphitheater for live performances.

The town will host public input sessions about Phase 3 in January.

“We are looking to use our community resources wherever we can,” Baker said. “We are excited the tech school students seem to be making progress.”

Bella Levavi can be reached at 413-930-4579 or blevavi@recorder.com.