Central Park, Clinton – not so much passive, as passive-aggressive?


Sign, Central Park, Clinton, MA

Clinton is a small city, in Worcester County in the western portion of Massachusetts, which was incorporated in 1850. It is about 42 miles from Boston, and therefore 30 miles from where I live. A visit to Clinton is usually most enjoyable, if you appreciate architectural design, as the prosperity of the 19th century caused by its booming textile industry (especially carpets), allowed the town to erect many impressive public buildings. Also, the housing stock contains fine examples of homes in the New England Victorian style. As an aside, it also is home to the oldest baseball diamond in continuous use in the world (dating from 1878), Fuller Field.

At the core of the town is Central Park, a fine public space with paths, seats, statuary and a fountain, which has many mature trees. The park is surrounded on three sides by a variety of notable homes, churches, the Town Hall and other buildings.  Like its much bigger and more famous counterpart in New York, Central Park should be a haven of rest, relaxation and recreation.

There is, however, one fly in the ointment. As you can see from the above notice, Central Park has been designated a ‘passive park for the enjoyment of all’, with the authorities banning virtually ALL forms of activity. No dogs allowed, no ball playing, no frisbee, no football, no soccer, no golf, no skateboards, no rollerblading, no bicycles, no swimming, no wading, no metal detectors, no littering. A couple of these are fairly standard (and useful) prohibitions, but the main aim of the city seems to be to forbid almost anything that makes a park a park! Not so much ‘passive’ as ‘passive-aggressive’, in my opinion.

Perhaps, on my next visit, I should enquire at the Town Hall to see if I can go into the park and breathe a little?

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