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Julie Hanson Photo Audrey Chapo, 4, left, and Sophie Chapo, 5, dance to the music at the Bedford Village Common grand opening June 9. A crowd turned out to celebrate the completion of Bedford’s newest park, years in the planning. (Julie Hanson Photo)

Village Common celebrates grand opening after years of planning

Music and laughter marked the grand opening of the town’s newest park, the Bedford Village Common, on June 9.

The park is located east of the intersection of Route 101 and Bell Hill Road.

About 200 people lounged in lawn chairs and spread blankets on the grass to support the opening and enjoy an outdoor concert. Paul Bordeleau kicked off the musical entertainment. Bedford resident Lisa Haynes sang the national anthem.

Chris Bandazian, chairman of Town Council, reminded the audience that Bedford lost its town center when Route 101 was rerouted. Bedford Village common will fill that void, he said.

“This will be a community center, a cultural center, and a place where people can come and relax right in the center of Bedford,” Bandazian said.

Town Manager Jessie Levine listed some key elements to community building that included gathering together, playing together and sharing. The park reflects all those principles, Levine said, but most importantly the principle of starting a tradition. She thanked everyone who made the park a reality.

“They’ve given us the gift of this park on which we can build many new traditions,” Levine said

The idea of Bedford Village common was first introduced in the 1990 master plan, according to Beverly Thomas, chairman of the Bedford Village Common Development Committee.

“Here we are 23 years later, and we finally have our park,” Thomas said. “I think it was well worth the wait.”

The project was made possible through the hard work of 27 committee members and hundreds of donors and received tremendous community support all along the way, Thomas said.

After the ribbon cutting, the Bedford High School Jazz Band and the Lurgio Middle School Jazz Band gave the park’s first summer concert in the bandstand. The Bedford Youth Performing Company vocalists also performed.

People milled around enjoying the music and light refreshments.

Committee member Deb Sklar, who coined the tagline “the park that Bedford built,” said volunteers take on projects for the day when they see everyone enjoying the fruits of their labor.

“It’s just so exciting,” Sklar said.

The park provides 9.5 acres of green space and walking trails.

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