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New park on Granite Street will contain public garden beds next year

October 30, 2013
BERLIN If you have gone by the corner of Mason and Granite St., you may have noticed a new park that has been built by the Recreation and Parks Department where two former buildings have been torn down. The park will hold some raised garden beds next year and encourage healthy eating and living for the neighborhood.

The small pocket park was recently built on Granite St. where an old Laundromat and bakery once stood. Before the buildings were torn down, there was little visibility, but not anymore. A couple of swing sets and other equipment, a linked fence, and park benches have been installed, and picnic tables are almost ready to be installed. It is a carry-in-and-carry-out park. The Rec. Department will oversee it. The park is open now, and will probably be closed sometime in November for the winter season, and will re-open in the spring.

"There has been a lot of activity in the park," said Paul Blais, maintenance foreman for the Recreation and Parks Department.

A draft proposal for the park was issued in March and the city council was favorable. Housing Coordinator Linda White, Public Works Director Mike Perreault, Recreation Supervisor Terry Letarte, and Community Services Director Angela Martin-Giroux devised the proposal.

Plans for installing 12 4X4, raised garden beds, built by the Rec. Department, Enriched Learning Center, and by the Foundation for Healthy Communities in Concord, are being made and will be in use next year. Two of the beds will be handicap accessible. There are plans being made for the installation of a rain barrel system which will provide water on sight. The beds will be considered community gardens and will be maintained by the citizens who will be handpicked. Part of the effort is to get the neighborhood and kids involved and to encourage healthy eating and living.

"We want to get the community involved and take pride in it," said Housing Coordinator, Linda White.

A Community garden planning group will be making all the decisions. There will be more announcements about the park this winter. Plans are also being made for seeding, and planting bushes, trees, and fruit plants. A permanent name for the park has not yet been established. The group will be working with the Enriched Learning Center and with the schools and public library in coming up with a name. One idea is to get young students involved and have a naming contest and reading program.

A state grant through Director of Health and Welfare, Angela Martin-Giroux, provided the means to build the park. A Neighborhood Stabilization Grant through H.U.D. funded the demolition.

"The Berlin Recreation Department needs to be credited," said Linda White. "Their team did a great job. We also want to thank the Enriched Learning Center and Technical Education Program under the direction of Ed Sawtell. This has been a real community effort, and that is the goal," she concluded.

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