RUMFORD — More than 30 people attended Saturday afternoon’s dedication of the J. Eugene Boivin Park, which stretches from the Bean Brook Outlet to the Androscoggin River’s Pennacook Falls.
Boivin’s wife, Geraldine “Gerry” Boivin, and son, Christopher Boivin, unveiled the new sign denoting the recognition after Town Manager Carlo Puiia spoke about the Board of Selectmen’s decision to honor the longtime public servant who put a lot of work into the park and its features.
“It’s a very memorable day for Rumford today to commemorate this area behind us to a very deserving individual,” Puiia said to family and friends of Eugene Boivin who died Jan. 30 of cancer.
Puiia said the board decided to honor Boivin last June by naming the park after him.
“But unfortunately, between Eugene’s health and his schedule, we just didn’t fit it in while he was alive, which is kind of bittersweet for all of us,” he said.
While Eugene Boivin was alive, however, Puiia said he visited him in the hospital and drew a picture of what the sign would look like and gave him a commemorative letter reflecting the board’s decision.
“He was very appreciative of it,” said Puiia, before digressing into Boivin’s zest for life despite his waning health.
“It’s very, very deserving to call this park the J. Eugene Boivin Park, because there’s going to be a lot of life here, and we can already see it as we walk down on the rocks,” Puiia said. “It gives you that feeling that it’s something good about being in Rumford.”
He said he couldn’t envision a better place to dedicate to Eugene Boivin, who began his 30-plus-year firefighting career in Rumford, became chief and retired in 1989.
Boivin sculpted the steel silhouette Native American scene in the park and designed and built the waterwheel, which is attached to the Rumford Information Center.
“For me, I can’t think of a better place,” Puiia said. “It’s probably one of the most scenic and beautiful views we have in our town, and now it’s going to be dedicated to him, and we all know he kind of nudged us a little bit to get it going.”
Puiia said the Information Center was also “part of Gene’s initiative to create a better Rumford, a place where citizens can gather, and for visitors to come by and enjoy what Rumford’s all about.”
“We’re very fortunate to have Gene as a memory to live by here, because he gave so much to the community.”