10 Towns in 10 Days: Longmeadow - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

10 Towns in 10 Days: Longmeadow

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(Western Mass News photo) (Western Mass News photo)

We're halfway through our 10 Towns in 10 Days tour as we visit local communities and learning about what makes each town special - the people, the culture and the businesses.

While we're there, we're giving back, donating to a charity in the town.

"The Longmeadow you see today, I think, is going to be pretty much the Longmeadow you're going to see in 10 to 15 years," said Longmeadow Town Manager Stephen Crane.

It also is the Longmeadow you saw 10, 15, 20 years ago. 

Schools have been rebuilt, businesses have come and gone, but Longmeadow has held on to its identity.

"It is one community.  Longmeadow is one of these communities where they cherish the people around them," said Bobby Barkett, owner of The Kitchen.

Barkett said that there is nothing more rewarding than owning a business in town.

"Having lived here and then opening a business here, it's been tremendous.  Having second or third generations of kids that I grew up with, it's been terrific. It's really been awesome," Barkett explained.

While the shops along Bliss Road and Williams Street offer commercial opportunities, take a trip along Route 5 to be greeted with historic homes from the 1900s. 

Farther down, the town green is quintessential New England.

"Longmeadow is a community that prizes its open space.  Retaining that open space is extremely important to the town," Crane added.

In fact, the town of Longmeadow is about 30 percent open space - parks, fields, and woodlands.

"The parks are the jewels of our community.  We have Laurel Park, which is a beautiful natural area.  We have Turner Park, which has baseball fields.  It's a beautiful landscape.  We have Bliss Park, which has a pool, a playground for more active recreation.  They are all extremely heavily used.  Longmeadow is a community that likes to get out of the house and enjoy the outdoors," Crane noted.

While the pools may be empty now, that won't be the case for long.  There's one program in town committed to providing everyone a chance to enjoy the recreation spaces. 

"We have the Trelease Scholarship Fund.  What it does is it enables children and families who wouldn't normally afford our recreation program and gives them the opportunity to participate," said Bari Jarvis with Longmeadow Parks and Recreation.

The money is completely funded by donations and goes to a variety of different programs.

"We offer daycare before and after school, dance programs in the summer.  We have our two outdoor pools, we have day camp.  It's very rewarding to help families in need," Jarvis noted.

During our visit, we wanted to help, so on behalf of Western Mass News, Big Y, and Diamond RV, we presented a check for $500 to help out the families in Longmeadow that need it. 

The $500 will buy a full month of after school care, four weeks of camp, or a full year of dance lessons for a child. 

We will be visiting five more towns next week.  Be sure to tune in to Better Western Mass weekdays at 12:30 p.m. for a live preview, and then you can see the full story on starting at 5 p.m. only on ABC40.

Copyright 2017 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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