I received an email from local property owner Charles Macfarlane asking me to meet him and his business partner Ben Adamson in Manchester’s Alice Fitz Park at 1301 Perry Street on a Friday afternoon. I agreed. I met them on the basketball courts of the park and I joked: “What is it guys? Is this a drug deal?” They laughed. Apparently they were planning to fix up the park and were wondering if I could help out. I was obviously excited to hear the great news!
I followed up with Charles and Ben via email after our meeting and asked them to answer some detailed questions related to their park initiative. Here is what they had to say.
Why are you fixing up Alice Fitz Park?
- The park really needs some TLC so that it can become the best neighborhood park and community amenity possible.
- The existing chain link fence is not attractive and it creates an unneeded barrier to the park’s access and open space feel.
- Vehicles are driven into the park proper and change the character, use and safety of the park environment.
- The cobblestone planting beds along Perry and 13th Streets are void of plant material and need landscaping.
- The park needs some additional facilities—picnic tables, trash cans and community garden improvements.
- The City was strapped for funds and manpower resources to make these investments/improvements.
- We have been developing several multifamily and mixed use projects over the last 4-5 years on property surrounding the park and we wanted to bring the community together in an attempt to help improve the neighborhood.
- We want to dress up and better define the pedestrian entrance to the park to make it more inviting to the nearby residents.
What will be done to improve the park?
- The existing rusted chain link fence will be removed. Along the rear and side borders, a new more pedestrian friendly wooden buck-rail fence will be installed.
- The cobblestone planting bed that borders the 13th Street and Perry Street frontage of the Park will be reestablished with landscaping. Some of the planting will come from Enrichmond’s TreeLab Program.
- The city will install removable bollards at the curb cut on 13th street to enable them to maintain the park as needed but will keep vehicles from driving in the park at nights and on the weekends.
- A more prominent entrance to the park will be established at what was once the primary entrance at the corner of 13th & Perry.
- The community garden plots will receive a face lift and hopefully, as a result, more neighbors will be interested in helping to maintain them.
- The stumps and dead trees in the park will be ground/removed.
Who is paying/donating in order to make the improvements?
- Anyone who is interested in helping to fund the park renovations can contribute a tax deductible donation through Enrichmond’s Friends of Alice Fitz Park Page.
- Currently the funding commitment is a private sector driven effort. So far, a number of neighboring property owners (including entities owned by Ben Adamson, Charles Macfarlane, Sam McDonald, Michael & Laura Hild) have agreed to donate but we understand the lion’s share will most likely come from our current and surrounding developments.
When will the work be completed?
The fence is coming down now and the landscaping and new fencing is scheduled for installation in early May.
Huge kudos are in order for Charles and Ben for spearheading this effort. The entire community will benefit as a result of their leadership on this initiative. Green space is going to be vitally important as the blank land parcels continue to be developed throughout the neighborhood. While that development is a positive thing, green space is disappearing at a rapid pace. An improved Alice Fitz Park can help ensure we have a clean, safe, and inviting park to meet the needs of the community. Thank you Charles & Ben!