In 2007, the Rotary Club of Sturbridge joined forces with the Town of Sturbridge creating Centennial Park celebrating 100 years of Rotary International. Rotarian Lorraine Herbert worked tirelessly on this beautification project with Sturbridge Tree Warden, Tom Chamberlain.
It was determined that Tom would seek suitable sites for the park and draft a plot plan for Rotary’s approval. The site chosen is highly visible at the corner of Route 20 and Cedar Street. Tom’s plan included a brick walkway into the park and encircling a flowering crab apple tree. Several benches for relaxing were included along with additional planting beds of hardy flowering shrubs.
Rotarians helped town employees build the walkway. A granite marker with a brass plaque was installed at the entrance to the park. Upon completion, the park was dedicated on June 14, 2007. The ceremony which was broadcast live on the local radio station included speeches by state, local, and Rotary officials. Rotary presented Tom Chamberlain with a plaque in appreciation for all his guidance, expertise and hard work in helping to bring Sturbridge Rotary Park to fruition.
In the fall of 2008, Rotarians planted 100 spring flowering bulbs in the center circle. Enhancements to the park have continued each year by the self-proclaimed gardeners in the Club who plant additional bulbs in the other planting beds within the park. Two additional planting beds have since been created and planted in an effort to enhance the park as an ongoing show piece in Sturbridge. A Sturbridge Rotary Banner has been hung from a nearby utility pole.
Several Rotarians conduct routine cleanup of weeds and trash; others fertilize the park, plant and maintain the flower beds, all with a goal in mind of continuous bloom throughout spring, summer, and fall. A large section of colonial rail fence was recently replaced on the Route 20 side of the park and Rotarians finished replacing the remaining fence the following year. While Rotarians are busy working at the park, passing motorists and pedestrians alike always take the time to express their pleasure with the park.
Sturbridge Rotary continues its partnership with the Town of Sturbridge whereby the town mows the grass, removes the leaves in the fall and plants additional flowering crab apple trees. Maintenance of and creation of additional planting beds is the sole responsibility of Rotarians, a responsibility taken seriously to help beautify the community for all to enjoy.
Pay a visit to the park, sit on the benches, listen to the birds chirping as they fly to and from the apartment bird house in the park, and just relax and enjoy the surroundings!