It was a decade in the making, but on Saturday, Oct. 28, Needham finally cut the ribbon at a rededication ceremony for the renovated town common.
Elected officials joined town staff members to celebrate the completion of the project. “It kind of feels like this has been going on forever,” said Select Board Chair Marianne Cooley, sharing a sentiment many residents also have felt. The project has been in the works all 10 years Cooley has been on the board. “I cannot tell you how excited I am that we reached this day,” she said.
Planning began after the renovation of Town Hall in 2011, which affected the ground and walkways on the common, and many of the trees were diseased. It moved along in fits and starts related to funding cycles, approvals and materials, until construction was completed in the spring. The updated common now features new paths and trees, swings and an upgraded sound system for outdoor events. “Everything about this space has been carefully and thoughtfully considered,” said Cooley.
Many of those considerations reflect the work of former town engineer Anthony Del Gaizo, who was involved in the design and planning before his death in 2021. The common was dedicated in his honor. “Tony made sure that when we were doing a project that we could build it,” Public Works Director Carys Lustig told the gathering. “He spent the majority of his life in a profession that he loved, in a community that he loved. It’s for these reasons that we’re rededicating the town common in Tony’s honor,” she said.
Del Gaizo‘s daughter Nicole Carrara, who was invited to cut the ceremonial ribbon, said the dedication would have meant a great deal to her father. “He loved the town of Needham. It’s exactly what he would have wanted,” she said. “He wanted families and friends to always be able to be together, and this is exactly what this is for.”