DERRY — A smaller version of a popular local water spot could be included on the list of ways to improve Hood Park.

With the emphasis on ways to improve the aging, downtown park and nearby pond area, officials are talking about the best ways to fund the projects on the list.

That includes playground upgrades, landscaping, trail work and a new Splashpad water fountain area.

Derry already has a very popular Splashpad at the Don Ball Park off Humphrey Road.

In a recent presentation to Town Council, Public Works Director Mike Fowler showed images of how the park looks now and what is planned for its revitalization.

Hood Park has served generations of families with its waterfront, playground and other facilities. Local events have been held there for decades including a fishing derby.

But the park, named for Derry's prominent Hood family, has fallen on hard times in past years, with swimming lessons ending years ago due to water quality at the pond and recreational programs being moved to other facilities in town.

A Hood Park Steering Committee was also formed to reach out to the public to discover the community's vision of what should be retained, changed, or added to the park through surveys and other public information gathering. The group worked in collaboration with the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension.

"We had a lot of discussions, a lot of formulation of some great ideas," Fowler said.

Some projects could be done easily and with less money, Fowler added, including cleanup of the wooded trails, replacing benches and tables, and building a fishing dock.

Plans may also include adding additional winter opportunities at the park including a skating rink.

The funding for projects could be through the town's fiscal year 2019 recreational bonding money, or through a tax increment financing, or TIF, effort set up for that area of town.

Town Councilor Joshua Bourdon suggested that the Hood Park project be done in a concise manner and not in a piecemeal fashion.

"I don't think we should (put) money into things unless it's going to be a final product," Bourdon said.

 

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