Until recently, Peter Igo Park in the town of Marshfield was a troublesome area for the community. The park had fallen into disrepair due to general neglect and years of tight municipal budgets. Because of its cracked asphalt courts and jagged wire fences, what should have been a family-friendly outdoor space had instead become a hotspot for underage drinking and other unwanted activities. However, thanks to the local nonprofit Friends of Peter Igo Park and CPA funding, the property was transformed from an eyesore into a vibrant, attractive, award-winning park.
Built over four decades ago, Peter Igo Park is a 17-acre recreational space abutting the Green Harbor River in close proximity to the Brant Rock Esplanade. Despite the park’s deteriorating condition, a group of residents involved with the Marshfield Tennis Club realized its potential as both a place for fitness enthusiasts and local families. The group began the process of garnering support to reverse the park’s decline, first calling themselves the “Peter Igo Park Initiative,” and later registering as a nonprofit under the name of “Friends of Peter Igo Park.”
The Friends of Peter Igo Park envisioned the rejuvenated park as a fitness area for a variety of age groups, with multiple sporting opportunities. They hoped to build new tennis courts, a basketball court, physical fitness stations, and a perimeter-walking path. In addition, they planned to install a mulched path to provide access to the Green River, with a dock for launching kayaks, canoes, and paddle boats for local boating enthusiasts. This area, extending through the Daniel Webster Farm property, is abundant with wildlife, and maintains historical significance as Daniel Webster’s own hunting and fishing grounds. “The area is steeped in history,” Bob Duksta, Friends of Peter Igo Park’s President, explains. “At one time Webster lived in Marshfield and resided within eyesight of the park.” Overall, the planned rehabilitation of the park was designed to be low-impact and remain within the existing park footprint.
The project was completed thanks to $705,000 of Marshfield’s CPA funds, in addition to funds raised through grants, fundraisers, and private donations. While there were no playable public tennis courts anywhere in the town of Marshfield prior to the Peter Igo Park rehabilitation project, the newly designed facility, with its array of new, quality courts and enhanced programming, earned the national Tennis Industry’s Public Park of the Year Award in 2015. Recently, the nonprofit Friends of Peter Igo Park has worked with the Wounded Warrior Program to include wheelchair support, and future plans call for the introduction of spring and summer tennis programs designed for seniors. “We hope they will be able to enjoy the game instead of just watching their grandkids play,” Duksta says.
The surrounding community has also greatly benefited from the park project, as there are over 1,200 households, restaurants, and shops within a two-mile radius of Peter Igo Park that can now use it as a resource. Duksta describes how “an amazing amount of people that never would have used the park now send their kids over and feel comfortable and safe.” He goes on to explain how the addition of new outdoor lighting and a surveillance system that goes to Marshfield’s local police has made Peter Igo Park “a destination place for people to come and enjoy the outdoors.” The Town of Marshfield and the Friends of Peter Igo Park have demonstrated an exceptional use of CPA funds to restore a neglected and deteriorated park into a beautiful recreational space for the entire community to enjoy.