Last Thursday, there was a second meeting to discuss that proposal for Seventh Street Park (a.k.a. the Public Square). People who had been at the first meeting came to the second meeting hoping to learn something new, but Cathryn Dwyre went over the same territory, with the same presentation, starting with dissing the park's 1878 design as a "default park design."
To illustrate the advisability of restoring the historic park, Ian Nitschke told the tale of two parks in Syracuse. One of the parks, Fayette Park, was restored in the 1980s, using 19th-century photographs of the park to inform the restoration. The restored park spurred revitalization in the area around the park.
Another Syracuse public space, Clinton Square, along the Erie Canal, received different treatment. In the 1980s, the park was redesigned according to what was trendy in park design at the time. Twenty years later, everything that was done in the 1980s was ripped up, and the park was totally redone.
Phil McCarthy cautioned, "What is cool and hip and works today may age badly."
Matthew Frederick expressed the feelings of many when he said that public involvement was being limited to "critiquing a scheme rather than working through the design process." He also observed that "rather than things growing out of the conditions that are there, things are being lifted [from other places]."
The grant request is for $340,000, and the question was raised about how much of the proposed design could be funded with that amount. The answer was "demolition and new paving." The complete realization of the re-imagining, which is expected would be done in phases with "successional grants," is expected to cost between $1 and $1.5 million.
It was suggested that if the grant is awarded, the $340,000 be used to make the park "so that people want to use it," to do "simple things that don't get into re-imagining it." David Voorhees observed that a change of use is already being seen in the park. Different people are using it than once did, more people are eating their lunch in the park, and the park is now being used, very successfully, for the midweek farmers' market.
COPYRIGHT 2014 CAROLE OSTERINK