The City of Providence Parks Department and the Summit Neighborhood Association want your input on the proposed renovation to Summit Ave. Park (the “Tot Lot”) at the corner of Summit and 9th Avenues.  Please take a minute to respond to our short survey.



Karlo Berger · July 10, 2013 at 8:12 am

This is an impressive plan. Parks–and the communities in which they are situated–thrive when they have multiple uses and are more inviting to all ages. I think the plan offers a decent balance of playground space, garden space, and open space. I am a parent of two kids, and would take them to this park more often if there were a garden. Kids benefit from a community garden–it will help them appreciate the beauty, wonder, and value of food and food growing, in a way that supermarkets and even farmers markets can’t.

Lee · July 7, 2013 at 8:16 pm

Please don’t treat the 9th street tot-lot like it’s an underutilized space that is open for re-purposing. The park is already too small and at times gets uncomfortably packed with kids. I’m surprised that the idea of making it smaller is even open for discussion.

Many people who use this park choose to live in this neighborhood because of tot-lot. People who love gardening didn’t choose this neighborhood for the gardening. Just because some people who want the garden have done some fundraising, they shouldn’t be allowed to take away some of this very important space for their hobby. If renovations do happen, the new structures should be placed where the proposed garden is.

Finally, common sense would say the garden belongs in Lippitt Park. Lippitt Park is 6 acres and the Tot-lot is less than an acre. Putting the proposed garden in Lippitt park would not have a noticeable impact on Lippitt Park, while the tot-lot will feel much smaller with the garden. With few places for toddlers in the area, but ample open space for adults, the right thing to do is to put this garden in Lippitt Park. It could be placed in Lippitt in the area behind the play structures, so it wouldn’t be noticeable from the street and wouldn’t affect how Lippitt Park is perceived by visitors.

Finally, I don’t buy the argument that toddlers will benefit from the garden. The toddlers won’t be allowed in the garden, where they can pick green tomatoes. I’ve been told by Tot-Lot visitors, who live closer to the Session Street Park, that their toddlers don’t benefit from the gardens at all.

Doniell · July 7, 2013 at 7:13 pm

I think the renovations to the playground are a great idea. The garden area seems very cramped and in an odd location. I live near the Sessions Street playground but often bring my kids to the tot-lot because it is so spacious. The community garden on Sessions is under lock and key so only those who have a plot have access to it. I do not see a benefit of the garden to all the children who will access the park.

Michelle CH · July 7, 2013 at 5:53 pm

Community gardens are very important but not in this park. Our property shares the fence with the park and allows us to see how it is used by families in the neighborhood. There is a constant stream of children and parents all day and even all year (including during the winter). The primarily reason why we bought our home was to live near a park with open space.

The East Side already has limited safe and open areas for families in the area and I don’t want to see this space taken, especially when a garden can just as easily be placed in another area. There is open space that is not utilized well around Dana/Camp Street and I would imagine that many would love to change this space to a community garden.

The City is also very invested in its Lots of Hope program which allows for the conversion of property that has been abandoned into community gardens. Perhaps this is the route that should be taken rather than taking an already existing space. There are many, many spots on North Main that would be ideal for gardening/community building.

I invite anyone who doesn’t feel like the park is utilized well to visit me and spend a few afternoons in my yard watching families with children use the park.

I also agree with the comment re: other projects for a focus. A community garden is certainly an important priority but there are many other projects we could focus on in our neighborhood.

fran · June 29, 2013 at 8:40 am

I love the idea of a community garden. I shared in one in Corvallis, Oregon and loved growing my own vegetables. My yard is shaded to the extent that nothing grows so this would be a blessing.

Erin · June 24, 2013 at 7:01 am

As a direct neighbor and daily user of the Tot Lot, I oppose creating a mixed-use space, particularly when there is more ample and un-used space in Lippitt Park.

Although community gardens sound romantic, there are very distinct challenges while integrating this plan with children’s space and within the neighborhood.

1) Parking is not abundant and already in competition with residents and The Miriam vistors (and staff).

2) Lippitt Park is already a high-traffic area, whereas Summit is quiter and more residential. Lippitt Park is directly on a RIPTA line.

3) Most renters and owners in this area of Providence have access to yards and patios at their residence. Reducing a very child-friendly space for gardens when green space is already fairly accessible seems silly.

4) Most community gardens are locked. How will the need for security allow for unlimited tot lot access?

5) What happens when children are deemed destructive or to be at odds with gardeners? Who will adjudicate?

6) In the afternoons, the tot lot is BUSY and borderlines crowded. The “extra” space still allows for free-play without kids tripping over each other. Having a large, fenced in space where children can run freely (which they often do) is essential, especially when there is NO traffic or safety enforcement in Providence and crossing the street is harrowing.

7) Currently, the Tot Lot is quiet before 9am and quiet after 7pm. Who will restrict the hours that gardeners can come in and create more disturbance/activity to a residential area? Again, Lippitt Park is busier already and has no direct propery abutters (all are separated by streets).

Putting aside the arguments for unfettered children’s play space, I still feel that the Ninth Street Tot Lot is not an ideal place for a community garden. Lippitt Park — which takes its roots from New Deal WPA projects — embodies the spirit of a community garden while providing more space, more accessibility, and less impact to neighbors/abutters.

KIsenberg · June 21, 2013 at 8:11 pm

As someone who uses this park with my young daughter every week, I really feel it’s important to mark out exactly where the proposed garden would be and how much space it would tame up so people can make more informed decisions. Looking at a plan like this is difficult. I like community gardens but do not feel this is the right place for it. There are alternatives locations. What SNA should be focusing on is the need to upgrade the playground equipment regardless. Also, many families outside of Summit use this park frequently. I believe they are stakeholders in this process as well. How are you trying to gather their opinions? I also hope your analysis and recommendations are based largely on the opinions from people who use this park on a regular basis versus those without young children.

Catherine · June 21, 2013 at 8:51 am

We are a young family without a real yard. We rely on parks like this as a place for our child to safely play and get physical exercise. I’ve always felt really lucky that we have this cute little park near our home. As it is, it is a very kid-friendly space, with swing gates at every entrance to keep kids from running into the street and limited traffic through the park. Community garden plots seem like a great idea on the surface, but in reality will only used during the very short New England growing season. The plan calls for a large number of tiny plots crammed into a small space. These plots are enough for a fun weekend hobby, but they cannot feed a family. At the end of the day, the park is just too small to accomodate everyone’s needs. If anything, I could understand setting up a smaller zone as a “pilot study” to see if interest is really sustained. But in the mean time, I can’t see funding a full renovation when many of the roads in the Summit neighborhood are barely passable.

Elizabeth Grossman · June 17, 2013 at 11:34 am

I think the design offers a balanced integration of activities which promises to bring people with different interests into proximity without friction. I do query both the desirability of a picket fence to literally fence off the garden. Isn’t there another way to protect it? And I also wonder if an arched entrance with sign is necessary given that there are multiple ways into the area as I read the plan.

Kristen · June 16, 2013 at 12:09 am

I believe in the movement of the community gardening. I am a participate in the Fox Point Community garden for the past three years but live in the summit neighborhood. I would support the efforts to create gardening space but feel this is an essential park for the kids in the east side that have combine park / garden have more open green space to spare. These other planned gardens have not taken from the open green space that children in an urban setting need to have to provide physical activity close to home. I support the much needed improvement in this park but feel the community garden could be placed in an area that would improve the neighborhood but not take away from a much needed green space for young children.

Ellen Santaniello · June 14, 2013 at 1:15 pm

I’ve always felt that the space in this park is not well used. I am thrilled by this plan, for the practical reasons Bob mentions above, because our kids need to learn how to use land well, and because it will be a much more beautiful space.

Diana · June 14, 2013 at 12:40 pm

I think it would be nice to try and include everyone and think having handicap accessibility would be a wonderful addition to the park and gardens. An additional disability swing would help those with disabled children. 🙂

Emlyn · June 14, 2013 at 11:10 am

Love it. Do it.

Robert Mathiesen · June 13, 2013 at 11:42 am

I think community gardens are very important for two reasons. First, they (like keeping chickens in backyards) will keep property values within a manageable range for people like me, and also keep the neighborhood from becoming more gentrified and upper-class. And second, as the national economy continues to collapse, the ability to grow one’s own food will become more and more important to every family’s well-being.

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