Cornell Pond gets a facelift

Nov 9, 2020

Visitors to North Dartmouth’s Cornell Pond will find something new this week: a freshly built wooden bridge and trail leading around a nearby island.

The improvements are part of a $36,500 plan to beautify the area that was funded at last year’s October Town Meeting.

Originally set aside for a study on refurbishing the pond’s dam, the funds were given a new purpose after the state downgraded the dam from a “significant” to a “low” hazard, rendering the study unnecessary.

Members of the Cornell Pond Advisory Committee were out in force clearing trails in the sunshine on Nov. 7 before discussing the project at a picnic table committee meeting.

“The bridge went in about three or four weeks ago,” said committee member David Cunha, who showed off the trails and a series of three spillways set at different heights to control the flow of water.

Committee member Gloria Bancroft, who is also on the town’s Finance Committee, noted that the lumber for the bridge was grown, cut, and milled in North Dartmouth.

She said that committee member Thomas Yena, known as “Red,” milled the lumber and built the bridge himself, with local residents donating the pieces of granite.

During part of the meeting, Red took the opportunity to unload some wood chips and resurface the whole area. 

Next up on the committee’s agenda is building more bridges over the spillways on the other side to connect the waterside with trails on DNRT’s neighboring Howland Reserve.

Bancroft noted that the aging dam would likely need to be patched up a bit before permits could be granted.

In the meantime, committee chair Bill Chandler — known to many as the “Mayor of Hixville” — suggested temporary concrete steps with a guide rope to make the crossing easier.

Resident Billy Rapoza lives near the soon-to-be trails and voiced his support for the project at the meeting. 

He and other residents were already using the newly cleared pathways for recreation, he noted.

“Especially with Covid, there’s been a lot of usage of this pond area, which is nice to see,” said Bancroft. “People are looking for a spot to go.”