Approximately one year ago, I convened a town hall meeting to discuss the implementation of a comprehensive plan for the Lincoln Avenue corridor. In what ended up being a spirited conversation, several important issues were raised by the few hundred people in attendance that evening. The most significant issues highlighted as immediate needs were: 1) improved Lincoln Park amenities; 2) a modernized Remington Boys and Girls Club; 3) better and safer traffic flows – particularly at the intersection of Lincoln Avenue and Memorial Highway; 4) cleaner streets and sidewalks 5) workforce housing 6) meaningful retail options; and 7) more open space. From that meeting, I, along with city staff, and several members of the community have begun the hard work of planning for the future. Here is what we are doing with respect to Lincoln Park.
With a Master Plan drafted by a professional consultant, and newly approved matching funds to go along, Lincoln Park is set to continue with its much-needed renovation. After several community meetings with dozens of residents, the expansion of the Grow! Lincoln Park Community Garden was prioritized as being an action item that can get done right away, and was eventually designated as the initial project of the park Master Plan. The Grow! Lincoln Park community, a dedicated group of volunteers, took a vacant space of grass adjacent to their initial modest garden, and transformed it into a much larger garden, and lively civic space. Community gardens are extremely valuable in that they provide fresh and nutritionally rich foods, and also produce intergenerational learning opportunities for local residents. In addition to the community garden, Phase One of the Master Plan also included new water and irrigation systems, lighting upgrades, and the installation of security cameras at the park.
Phase Two of the Lincoln Park Master Plan will be the complete renovation of the playground. At 16 years of age, combined by the heavy usage of this park, the playground no longer can enjoyably accommodate the needs of the community. With the purchase of new “State of the Art” equipment – costing over half a million dollars – area residents can expect the playground to be removed and replaced by latest this fall with a modernized playground that we all can be proud of. The playground was not able to be financed all at one time due to the expense of the high quality equipment that will be installed. Currently, our city finance department is waiting for the the second half of federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to be approved in the coming weeks prior to the city moving forward with the installation. Along with new park benches and attractive landscaping, our future playground – as shown by the beautiful rendering I just received from our Parks and Recreation department – will be hardly recognizable. In the meantime, the city will continue to maintain the current playground as best as possible.
The future phases of the Lincoln Park Master Plan will likely include upgrades to the basketball courts and sports field, more park landscaping, and hopefully, outdoor exercise equipment for adults to use in lieu of people using the playground equipment for that purpose. And the best part is that all future phases have already received funding as part of the city’s Ten Year Capital Plan. To be exact, last December, $2.2 million was allocated to serve the needs of Lincoln Park from 2017 until 2026; that’s more than enough to meet the goals previously identified by the community. It is vital that we send a message to the users of Lincoln Park that they deserve a park that is clean, safe, fun, and well-kept.
Stay tuned for future updates on what is being planned for this corridor, particularly related to road redesigns, workforce housing, a Remington Boys and Girls Club renovation, and more park news.
Councilman Jared Rice