Alders propose making The Hub a ‘community park’

An adventure playground and a bike track would be built as a part of the community hub project near Fish Hatchery Road. The community hub along Traceway Drive was one of the two projects approved in the Capital Improvement Plan by City of Fitchburg alders at their Tuesday, Aug. 11, meeting. The other, a teen center, would be placed in the former A-1 Furniture and Mattress building.

The Hub is the City of Fitchburg’s newest community park.

The Common Council unanimously approved the designation at its Tuesday, April 13, meeting. The designation is largely symbolic, but will allow the city to use both park improvement fees and parkland dedication fees.

The park, planned for the north side of Traceway Drive, is still in the design phase and is expected to be brought before council for approval this year.

Phase 1, which is expected to cost around $2.6 million, would include a 14,500-square-foot covered outdoor recreation area, two community buildings, an adventure playground, bike tracks and a picnic area. Alders added The Hub to the city’s capital improvement plan in August 2020, and implementation and construction of its first phase was included in the city’s 2021 operating budget.

Proposed Traceway Drive community hub

One of the community buildings that could be built south of Traceway Drive. The community hub along Traceway Drive was one of the two projects approved in the Capital Improvement Plan by City of Fitchburg alders at their Tuesday, Aug. 11, meeting. The other, a teen center, would be placed in the former A-1 Furniture and Mattress building.

Parks that are not designated as community parks cannot take advantage of city-wide park improvement fees. The amenities within the park and its ability for a large number of city residents to use them will be what makes it eligible as a community park, city finance director Misty Dodge explained.

That will change the amount of borrowing the city would need to take on for the project, Ald. Julia Arata-Fratta added.

The Hub would serve people within a two-and-a-half mile radius, one of the conditions that’s desired for being a community park as outlined in the city’s standards, but does not meet the acreage suggestion, at a size of 6.3 acres for both phases.

City community planner Wade Thompson told alders he wasn’t aware of any city ordinances that made the size of a community park a requirement, and in the years of planning the facility, the idea had always been to serve people from outside of the direct neighborhood.

Proposed Traceway Drive community hub

One of the community buldings and the outdoor plaza that are included in the community hub project. The community hub along Traceway Drive was one of the two projects approved in the Capital Improvement Plan by City of Fitchburg alders at their Tuesday, Aug. 11, meeting. The other, a teen center, would be placed in the former A-1 Furniture and Mattress building.

Other community parks in the city include McKee Farms Park, Sunnyside Dog Park, McGaw Park and Nine Springs Golf Course. Often, community parks are also defined by the amenities provided that have the ability to attract all residents across Fitchburg, such as splash pads, pickleball courts or dog-friendly areas.

Email reporter Kimberly Wethal at kimberly.wethal@wcinet.com and follow her on Twitter @kimberly_wethal.​

News Editor

Kimberly Wethal joined Unified Newspaper Group in 2018, where she serves as the news editor for four publications and primarily covers the Verona Area School District and the City of Fitchburg. She previously was an intern with UNG starting in 2013.