Thursday, August 03, 2006

Park Plans Unveiled!

Spencer JonesThe City of Northfield presented a public forum to review designs for Way Park last night at the Community Resource Center. About 50 citizens attended, most of whom were residents of the park's west side neighborhood.

After comments from a few city officials, landscape architect and Park Board member Spencer Jones presented four different designs for the park. The plans were greeted with enthusiasm by the crowd, particularly those among us who have worked to make the expanded park a reality.

Citizens were given a chance to provide written feedback about all the designs and also to participate in a Q&A session that was moderated by Charley Skinner.

All four designs present different approaches to dealing with First Street, which bisects the park. One of the plans features the street routed around the park, funneling traffic to Second Street. The other plans run the gamut from narrowing the road to expanding it with a greenspace median or sculptural elements. Much of the public discussion focused on the street issue and safety concerns, but attendees also spoke of the desire for the park to become a true community park—not just a neighborhood resource—and to that end all four designs feature some form of performance space, in addition to maintaining the park's "tot lot" playground and ice rink.

Howard Merriam, the city's Director of Resource Planning, promised to make PDFs of all the plans available soon, but in the meantime you can catch a sneak peek at some photos of them below. Click to enlarge the images.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Lots of Recent Activity

Sorry for the long hiatus...I'm sure both(!) of our loyal readers are disappointed in the lack of news reported in this space.

Anyway, there's been a flurry of activity on the Way Park front lately. We had our annual meeting on April 27, which was nicely documented by Michelle Kubitz at the Northfield News.

At the meeting we elected our first slate of official officers as a 501c3 non-profit organization
  • Judy Swanson, President
  • Chris Ennis, Treasurer
  • David Sudermann, Secretary (+ Historian!)

Since the meeting, the big buzz has been the proposed Community Garden that the city was hoping to locate temporarily in Way Park. We're all for the idea of a community garden, but we don't think it's appropriate to use the public land of our park for the private use of a few citizens. This position was stated quite effectively by our friend Pam Percy in a letter to the editor printed in the Northfield News on May 3.

In addition to several FWP members who spoke up at last night's meeting of the Park and Recreation Advisory Board, we learned that Galen Malecha, council member for our ward, received an astonishing number of phone calls about the issue, with 53 callers voicing opposition to having a community garden in Way Park and three(!) callers in favor of it. I use the word astonishing because these were unprompted calls from citizens, and not the result of any organized effort by FWP.

The upshot of all this is that the city has agreed to move ahead with the garden plans in another location, and NOT in Way Park!