On August 15, 2011, DPR and The Bates Area Civic Association held a community meeting to discuss the development of the Florida and First St Park. The meeting had over 40 community members in attendance, DPR Project Team, Dr. Nicole Johnson from Counsel Member Thomas’s Office, Terri Quinn – President of Bloomingdale Civic Association, Sylvia Mathews – President Hanover Civic Association, Christine Leake – Manager of Northwest Cooperative and 5C01 ANC Commissioner Bradley Thomas. Unable to attend was a representative from MPD and Mayor’s Office.
The project team addressed some key community concerns into the design of the new park:
Public Safety Concerns
Closure of First St Entrance – the gate located on First St and Florida Avenue will be locked and used only for DPR vehicles. A one way exit circular gate will be placed in that part of the park.
Lighting – some of the trees have been cut down to provide more lighting. Oaks have been pruned to allow for a cone of light and higher light intensity. Some of the lights will also be relocated to other parts of the park where lighting can be maximized.
Southern Fence along Northwest Cooperative – DPR will look at different option on how to reinforce the fence without diminishing the beautification of the park. The ornamentation that will be added to the fence will make the fence stronger and more difficult for the bars to be bent.
Retainer Walls – the retainer walls will have a fence over them that will prevent individuals from loitering or sleeping on the retainer walls.
Sitting benches – will have an iron arm rest that would prevent people from sleeping on the benches.
Overall the park will be more opened and visible from the outside, making it harder for questionable activities to go unnoticed.
New Design Will Include 3 New Play Grounds
Ages 2-5 – a fenced in circular playground where children can play safely.
Ages 6- 12 – circular playground that will be opened and encouraged physical activities.
12 and over – circular playground.
The 3 playgrounds will be circular and overlap. The circular form will create a walking track for those that wish to do more walking in the park. So get ready for walking groups to form at the park.
The basket ball court and horse shoe ring will remain. A community bulletin board will also be placed at the park for DPR and Friends of the Park to post public notices and activity notices. New landscaping and new pavement will be part of the renovations.
Friends of the Park
Under the Bates Area Civic Association’s charter, a Friends of the Park Group will be formed. This group will work with DPR to coordinate maintenance, address concerns, schedule activities at the park year round, hold fund raisers to make improvements to the park and organize community programs. The Fiends of the Park will have the ability to seek grants and business sponsorships to make this a true community park. Volunteers for this group may contact the Project Coordinators, Jon Hasse at firstname.lastname@example.org or Brett Abrams at email@example.com. We hope to have the Friends of the Park in place prior to the re-opening of the park in November.
Park Re-opening and Maintenance – Next Steps
The park is scheduled to be completed by November 15th. A follow up community meeting will take place to discuss:
Regular maintenance schedule
MPD and Park Ranger’s role in keeping the park safe in partnership with community efforts.
Structured DPR programs at the park.
Friends of the Park calendar of events and update.
Goal would be to have involve our youth, children and community in a tulip planting in late November in preparation for a Spring Jam Festival.
Stay tune for more to come. This is just the beginning.
Geovani A. Bonilla, Bates Area Civic Association