Three new picnic tables at the East Orvis Street Park were purchased in honor of loved ones. Bob Beckstead/Watertown Daily Times

MASSENA — Visitors to the East Orvis Street Park are enjoying some new picnic tables thanks to an initiative by a local group of residents.

Chris Hutchins works at Corky’s Collision, across the street from the park. He knows first-hand how many folks, including families, dropped by with some food and enjoyed a meal at the picnic tables.

“We have noticed a lot of increased use of the East Orvis Park since this whole COVID thing started,” he said.

But, he also knows how those picnic tables have deteriorated over the years. He said they were seven or eight years old and had been through several harsh winters.

Now there are three fresh new picnic tables parked in the park, replacing three of the older, decrepit ones.

“A couple of us went together and bought three new tables in memory of loved ones and replaced some bad ones,” Mr. Hutchins said.

He said it was a group effort. Among those who assisted were Candace Hutchins, Sophia Bolster and James Lambert, who stained and sanded the tables. Corky’s Collision allowed them to store the tables there until the work was finished. Spencer Perry and Ryan Perry did “the grunt work,” and Bill Lamb took care of some special lettering on the tables.

Each of the tables is in memory of someone near and dear. One of them is in memory of Doug Hutchins, Mr. Hutchins’s father, who died in 2012. Another table is in memory of Bernie Ashley, and the third is in memory of Tim Alguire.

It didn’t take long for the tables to be put to use.

“A half hour after we put them up, one table was completely full,” Mr. Hutchins said.

They’re now part of a park that at one time was the site of the BPW Memory Tree, as well as “We Are Massena” panel initiated by the late Lawrence Prashaw to detail facets of Massena’s history in photographs.

Mayor Timmy J. Currier said it’s not the first time Mr. Hutchins has helped the Massena community.

“Chris has done other work for our community. He is a giving person,” Mr. Currier said. “I think back to the days when East Orvis was a thriving ‘second downtown’ and Larry Prashaw led the merchants to work together to lift everyone up. This donation mirrors that concept. Giving to others is exactly what makes the world a better place.”

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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