Tom ODell Memorial Open Space and Meadow Walk Dedication Ceremony
The Westbrook Conversation Commission and the Westbrook Garden Club held a joint dedication ceremony for the Tom ODell Memorial Open Space and the Meadow Walk on Sept. 15. The ceremony was attended by many town officials, volunteers, benefactors, and citizens.
Westbrook Conservation Commission Chair Marty Marx opened the ceremony by dedicating the seven-acre open space near the center of town in honor of Tom ODell.
“Tom wanted everyone to be able to enjoy the majesty of nature, so it is fitting that this parcel, with its proximity to the downtown, the library and the elementary school, be named in Tom’s honor,” Marx said.
ODell, the founder of the Westbrook Conservation Commission and its chairman for 48 years, dedicated his life to the preservation of the natural environment for current and future generations.
Marx then dedicated a sitting bench at the newly dedicated Tom ODell Memorial Open Space in honor of Robert Peterson who passed away in 2018.
“The commission wishes to honor Bob’s lifetime commitment to the conservation of the natural resource in our town,” Marx said. “Bob served on the Conservation Commission for almost as long as Tom!”
Westbrook Garden Club Co-President Carolyn Fish welcomed all to the dedication of the one-quarter-acre Meadow Walk portion of the Tom ODell Memorial Open Space. The garden club began the project as a way to commemorate its 60th anniversary. “Tom ODell, as Conservation Commission chair, was our first supporter with his approval to enhance the entrance to this open space with our Meadow Walk project,” Fish said. “Here we are four years later still working closely with the Conservation Commission as evidenced by tonight’s joint dedication event.”
Meadow Walk Project Chair Deborah Rie said, “We transformed this space into a pollinator haven with the help of our energetic garden club members and many donors.” She continued noting that the club has marked their gratitude for Tom ODell’s initial support by planting an American white oak tree near the Meadow Walk entrance. Two benches are dedicated to other donors. One bench is dedicated to long time member Caroline “Cally” Capellaro for her generous bequest that is being used to enhance the Meadow Walk. The other bench is dedicated to the many other donors including The Westbrook Foundation for three years of grants; Eagle Scout Eric Franco for constructing a boardwalk that spans a periodic flooded area; Oxford Academy for constructing a water collection system and greenhouse use to nurture seedlings; Kathy Connolly, consultant of Speaking of Landscapes, along with Chuck Landrey of Garden for Bees and gardener Barbara Harms for plant donations; Yankee Heritage and Wilcox Tree for material donations; and Chris McGregor for crafting and installing the two benches.
“I am very proud of this garden and all the hard work and planning that went into its creation,” said Westbrook Garden Club Co-Presidentt Rachel McNellis. “We have spent countless hours planning with our consultants, planting, weeding, watering, and organizing work parties. We have planted over 1,000 native perennials, grasses, shrubs, and trees. That’s quite an accomplishment!”
McNellis announced that, as a continuation of the support for pollinators, members Dee Mozzochi and Hiram Fuchs are kicking off a Pollinator Pathways project for Westbrook.
The public is encouraged to visit the Tom ODell Memorial Open Space located on the Boston Post Road between Oxford Academy and the U.S. Post Office in Westbrook’s Town Center.