What a great meeting!
I was worried that this meeting is going to become an us vs. them showdown and we won’t be able to get mutual understanding of the issues but I’m happy to report that it went beyond our expectation.
Our objective going into the meeting was to highlight the issues we are facing in the area that we have discussed in earlier posts and see if we can get them to open the floor up for us to be heard. Central Neighborhood House was very gracious in providing the space and even food for all their guests. We had a strong presence in the room with friends sitting on both sides of the room.
The meeting started with a brief overview of all the activities that have taken place in the park over the past years to bring it to this point. Rebecca Price, who works for Central Neighborhood House and spear-headed the whole process, gave the brief presentation about what the intention of the project is and what the design was made to incorporate.
Couple of worthy points that I want to note about the process that was explained by Rebecca Price:
- The raised beds were created to accommodate elderly, youth and handicap residents and participants
- The community consultation was solicited via hand delivered flyers to Aberdeen, Winchester, and Ontario Street only
- There were three initial designs for the space out of which one was picked. Here are copies of the Earlier Designs
- The final design as it’s supposed to be installed is showcased below for your review
I’m not doing justice to the detail of the whole process as I didn’t write down all the dates but needless to say, it was extensive however it wasn’t comprehensive which is expected! The coops on bleecker were never contacted neither were any residents north of Winchester on Rose or Ontario. The residents on Carlton, who back onto the park, weren’t contacted either. So there were some short comings.
As you can probably predict by my comments, everyone, from The Friends of Winchester Park group, was taking notes and was ready to lash back with their demands of injustice and it did happen. Yours truly was the first to raise his hand to start of the conversation which was being moderated by James Koon, a local community gardener, and we quickly found ourselves going back and forth about different issues.
It was clear that the meeting would go on for hours without getting any results. Both sides had valid points and common grounds were needed and we agreed to the following:
- Both parties agree that the park needs to be beautified.
- There are some deficiencies in the design that need to be reviewed
- The planting would seize till the issues surrounding the park are resolved
- Both sides will join in creating a committee that would consist of four to six members from each group to review and present resolutions
- A meeting of the committee will be held in two weeks.
This is positive for us for couple of reasons:
- It gives us time to organize and review what our issues are in detail
- It gives us the opportunity to come up with a design plan
- It gives us the opportunity to review financial burdens that will be placed
- It gives us an opportunity to consult with more residents to collect their feedback
- and lastly, it gives us an opportunity to reach more residents so we can design a space that can be enjoyed by many!
I hope you can make it out to one of our meetings when it’s held. We will be posting about them here and holding them in the park, around your homes and will be looking for your input and suggestions to help us restore the park.
Talk to you all soon!
Source – Friends of Winchester Park