Council Approves $9.5M for Fernald Recreation Amenities


By Chris Wangler
December 22, 2023

After years of delays, something will be built at the sprawling former Fernald property in North Waltham.


On December 11, the city council voted to approve a loan authorization for $9.5 million to build recreational amenities at 190 Trapelo Road along the property’s northern border.


Plans for the 16.6 acre section include a memorial, a universal play area, a spray park, an 18-hole miniature golf course and an electric train.


The universal play area will be the largest in New England, according to Recreation Director Kim Hebert.


All the planned amenities will be accessible to the disabled, and the memorial was created in consultation with the Guardians of the former Fernald facility.


Construction could commence in the new year. Currently there’s no projected completion date.


The City of Waltham acquired the sprawling Fernald property from the state in 2014 for $3.7 million.


In recent years trespassers have set arson fires and vandalized buildings as different boards and committees have tried to hash out plans for Fernald.


Many ideas for what to do at the sprawling 190 acre site have been debated, but the city has not done much, apart from tearing down a few dozen buildings and daylighting a wetland area.


Plans accelerated in 2021 when the council transferred 120 acres along Trapelo Road to the Recreation Department.

During a council committee meeting in November, Ward 5 councilor Joey LaCava, who moved last week for the second reading of the loan authorization, discussed community feedback with Recreation Director Hebert.

“She referenced a Google Doc with 68 pages of emails of people who had ideas and designs for this park. They are all included in some way or another in this 16.6 acres,” LaCava said.


The currently proposed facilities are part of a much larger plan for recreational amenities at Fernald expected to be put out to bid in the coming years.

File photos