Town of Brookline celebrates National Public Works Week

Julie Piacentini
Office Administrator
Town of Brookline, Massachusetts

Third grade students listen as horticulturist Jim Casselman tells them how to plant the peat pots each student received.

The Town of Brookline, Massachusetts, celebrated National Public Works Week in 2006 with a Department of Public Works Open House field trip for over 400 third grade students in the Brookline school system. The Municipal Service Center, the home for the Brookline Highway and Sanitation Departments, opened the doors at 8:30 a.m. and continued throughout the school day. The facility remained open to the public into the evening.

The students and families of Brookline who participated got to see some of the functions of our Engineering, Highway, Park and Water Divisions. The Divisions set up stations for the participants and demonstrated their role in the community. The promotion for each DPW station was as follows:

  • Fleet Services and Maintenance Repair - Check out the Big Trucks! Equipment Show & Tell: Loaders, Dump Trucks, Snow Fighters and Street Sweepers. Watch the "MADVAC" Litter Buggy clean up. See a welding demonstration. Walk through the repair shop and see the Town of Brookline's vehicles and police cars being repaired.

  • Traffic Systems and Street Signs - Tour the sign shop. See how the Town of Brookline makes a street sign and how traffic signals work.

  • Sanitation and Recycling - Find out how a rubbish packer works. Learn why the Town of Brookline recycles. Take home a creation made from recycled material!

  • Parks and Open Space - Watch the lift bucket truck elevate to the top of the trees! Plant a flower with a Brookline horticulturalist!

  • Water and Sewer - View the Water and Sewer Pipe Camera in action; learn how water is connected to your home. See the Town of Brookline's Vactor truck in action.

  • Engineering and Transportation - Learn why the Town of Brookline surveys land and how field measurements are taken using a pedometer.

Children learn from John Tyner and Paul Moroney of Brookline's Water & Sewer Dept. on how water travels to and from their home.

Bill Lupini, Superintendent of the Brookline Schools, discussed the importance of this co-effort between the Department of Public Works and the School Department. "I think that the visit by our third grade students demonstrates two very important characteristics of Brookline Town Government and as a community," he said. "First, it is another tangible example of the partnership between the Department of Public Works and the School Department, which is based on mutual respect and an attitude of "We are in this together." Second, the day provides students with an opportunity to see Department of Public Works jobs for what they are; that is, integral to the overall success of this amazing community."

Third grade students of Brookline's Pierce School express their gratitude for a great Field Trip.

Event planning for National Public Works Week 2007 has already begun. Again this year the Town of Brookline's DPW will hold an Open House for all the Brookline School third graders along with toddlers from the Brookline Recreation Department and all residents and Town employees. DPW Office Administrator Julie Piacentini and Highway & Sanitation Director Lester Gerry work directly with Mary Murphy of the Brookline School Department to make this day fun and memorable for the students, the community and the employees.

Also during National Public Works Week a commemorative plaque will be installed in the new DPW Park, which was created as a public amenity as part of the overall development of Kendall Crescent in Brookline. The centerpiece of DPW Park is the large bronze bell that once hung in the historic DPW Town Barn and, for generations, summoned the Town of Brookline's DPW workers to their tasks. The bell sits on a concrete base that now features the plaque that explains the significance of both the bell and the park to people who use the park for a short respite.

The bronze bell in DPW Park. From left: Tom DeMaio, Commissioner of Public Works; Polly Selkoe, Assistant Director of Regulatory Planning; and Merrill H. Diamond, developer of Kendall Crescent.

"Too often the important work of the Town's DPW workers is taken for granted by those who have grown accustomed to the consistency and quality of their efforts," said Tom DeMaio, the Commissioner of the Town of Brookline's Department of Public Works and former member of APWA's Board of Directors. "This park will be an appropriate reminder of the work of Brookline's 'unsung heroes' who work tirelessly on behalf of their fellow citizens."

Developer Merrill H. Diamond of Diamond Sinacori, LLC intends to formally dedicate DPW Park in May during National Public Works Week.

Julie Piacentini can be reached at (617) 730-2166 or