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Safety concerns prompt changes to concession area outside Wellesley arena

Concerned parents will be relieved to hear Wellesley council is addressing the issue of kids running into the street at the Wellesley arena to get to the new outdoor concession stand.

The concession stand, operated by the Millstream Market and Grill, was approved for a trial period starting May 24 and running until October 2 to sell ice cream and other frozen treats.

And it’s been a big hit so far, the only problem being children crossing the road from the picnic table area to get to the ice cream vendor, often without looking. After hearing from a concerned family, Mayor Joe Nowak went to the park one weekend to see for himself.

“I did sit there, there was a couple sitting on the park bench with a little two-year-old. He got a little antsy and before you knew it he was on the road,” Nowak said.

Director of facilities Brad Voisin said he had a line painter come in to repaint the speed bumps as bright as possible to make them stand out, and do the rest of the parking lot too.

“I’ve now ordered some white composite vinyl fencing, 12 feet on each side of the sidewalk that goes up to it and this will run in front of the picnic tables. So it should stop anything like that,” Voisin said.

The fencing will be installed shortly, he added. You will now be able to access the concession stand from the side or directly in front of it.

“But if they’re sitting in the picnic table area there will be a barrier to the road. I think that will definitely help. I’m not sure how you completely block it off. But I think that will delay what the mayor saw happen,” Voisin said.

Coun. Carl Smit asked if people speeding through there was an issue. Coun. Shelley Wagner said it was more an issue of little children who don’t look both ways before running across the street.

“I think it was more the concern that there’s a lot of foot traffic that goes back and forth from getting ice cream. They’re concerned someone may get hit, not necessarily from speeding, just kids darting in and out,” Wagner said.

Nowak noted he couldn’t help but be impressed by how much was happening at the park.

“There’s got to be 1,000 people there. The ball diamonds were all in use, and the soccer fields were in use, and the splash park was going. It was incredible to see all the people.”

And it seems giving the green light to an outdoor concession stand for the summer is working out favorably for both the business and residents.

“I asked the attendants how’s business and they explained to me that as soon as the game’s over from that window they line up sometimes right around the corner, up towards the garage door. It’s going over very well,” Nowak said.

He added, “The ice cream was very good, by the way.”

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