PEPPERELL — Plans are being made for an official opening of the landmark covered bridge next spring that will include closure of Lowell Street for an old-fashioned street dance, creation of a park and re-enactment of militia Capt. Prudence Wright’s heroics at the beginning of the Revolutionary War.
And the event could become a community tradition.
The ideas were brought to selectmen this week by Elfreida Parker of the Pepperell Women’s Club and Diane Cronin of The Country Store.
“Who’s going to be the Tory?” joked Chairman Joseph Sergi.
“Probably you,” Parker shot back, drawing laughter from a full audience.
Construction of the new bridge is slated for sometime between October and the end of this year depending upon who is asked, but the official opening, proposed to be conducted by selectmen, is projected for perhaps May.
Parker envisioned Lowell Street closing on a Saturday night for the street dance and selling of wares strictly by local businesses. The historic re-enactment would take place on a Sunday night. Selectmen or Police Chief Alan Davis have the authority to close a street.
Parker said she has talked about the plan with the Daughters of the American Revolution and will speak with the Pepperell Business Association this week. There is, she said, $1,500 put aside as seed money for the event.
DPW Director Robert E. Lee is acting as point man with the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife to convert its triangle of land east of the bridge on the Railroad Square side of the Nashua River into a park. He has preliminary communication with the department.
Town Administrator Robert Hanson said the department “seems all set” with the idea, adding that additional maintenance of the area may require local money.
Cronin said the DAR has agreed to co-fund with her store a kiosk in the park that will contain historical references. She said there is need to set up how people can contribute more than is on hand.
“We’re more than happy to work with you,” Sergi said. “This could start a tradition.”
“A great idea,” Selectman Joseph Hallisey agreed.
“Yes,” added Selectman Patrick McNabb. “I hope the weather cooperates.”