By Anthony Arrigo
SNA board member
As promised, a second public meeting regarding renovations at the Summit Avenue “tot lot” to include community gardens was held the morning of Saturday, Oct. 27.
Members of the Summit Neighborhood Association, the city Parks Department and concerned residents gathered at Summit Commons, 99 Hillside Ave., to exchange views.
Covered were many of the same issues as in the first public meeting, although this time specific cost estimates were provided by parks director Bob McMahon and landscape architect Megan Gardner. He estimated that renovations in keeping with the current architectural drawings would come to approximately $60,000, of which the neighborhood would be asked to raise about 25 percent or $15,000.
McMahon also provided more details on how the community gardens would function and how the renovations would be done.
According to the city plan, after the major landscaping and hardscaping changes were completed by contractors, the new facilities would be installed by members of the neighborhood supervised by the Parks Department. This would include setting up the new play structures, building the fence for the community garden and the garden beds plus other “sweat equity” enhancements. McMahon cited several examples in which this process was followed in other city parks with great success.
Although most meeting attendees were in favor of the proposed renovations, a small but vocal minority was opposed to the community gardens, asking for more research into using Lippitt Park as a site rather than the tot lot. McMahon agreed to consider additional polling of the neighborhood to gauge the feasibility of a community garden in Lippitt Park.
SNA will begin planning fundraising efforts for the tot lot renovations regardless of whether a community garden is part of the new park. The issue will be on the agenda for the next SNA board meeting, which will be at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 19, at Summit Commons. All neighbors are welcome to attend.