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Wright's Pond Glitters Under Watchful Eye of a Queen

Claire Diminico of North Medford has been a friend of Wright's Pond for 30 years.

Claire Diminico has lived with on her doorstep for 30 years, with a great view of one of the city's most precious hidden jewels.

The pond's playground and beach have been popular with neighborhood families for generations.

Diminico is the "queen of Wright's Pond," keeping a watchful eye on things.

"I moved here 30 years ago when it was affectionately referred to as the polio pit," Diminico said. "A lot of people would just come up here for drinking and carousing, and there wasn't really any recreational use for families."

Years of labor by Diminico and her partners and neighbors have turned the pond into a place for fishing, swimming and concerts all during the summer months.

Diminico's silent partner is John Barbati, 79, who has lived on the pond for 45 years. The Godfather of the park is Vincent Giovanelli, a former Medford police sergeant who "got the park rolling," Diminico said.

Others chip in and help, too.

Last weekend, members of the Grace Episcopal Church organized a clean-up at the park off Aquavia Road; Diminico said about 75 people showed up.

For the most part, people are respectful of the park, but there are a few things that threaten the tranquility of Wright's Pond.

Vandals have repeatedly struck the park in recent years. Some troublemakers destroyed the guard shack at the parking lot this winter.

There are also some creatures that are less than welcome at the pond. Geese nesting at the beach can raise the bacteria count in the water. 

Diminico said people who don't clean up after their dogs are a problem, too.

She said worries about who will take care of the place for the next generation.

But under her watch, the pond is doing well.

Recently, city officials including the mayor visited the park for the dedication of a tree in honor of a former city employee, Richard Lee.

Jokingly, Diminico let them know who the real boss of Wright's Pond is.

"I told them, 'you're on my turf,'" she said.

Margaret Smist May 20, 2011 at 06:04 PM
It has been great for us, Grace Church 'folk' to get to know Claire thru Green Up Clean Up. THANK YOU for all you do, Claire!
claire diminico May 20, 2011 at 06:12 PM
Looks good. Didn't realize my Boston accent was so thick! And how gray I am. Plus the camera puts on 10 extra ponds! No matter. My surroundings look terrific despite the rainy day. Good job. The Queen is amused!

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