Plans for new park to be the anchor of Box District

Last Thursday evening, live music from the band El Frente boomed down Gerrish Avenue and Highland Street.

It wasn’t an annoyingly loud house party or a reason to call the police; it was a community concert in the new Box District – and planners, city officials and developers for the district hope that one day soon such concerts might be held in a new 13,000 sq. ft. park.

The park is slated to anchor down the corner of Gerrish, Highland and Library.

There are plans for a fountain, a performance area, quiet areas and a children’s playground.

It would take the place of a long-vacant, weed-strewn lot that has known more negatives than positives in the last few decades.

Years ago, it housed the Standard Brass Factory.

City Planners told the Record that they plan to pursue $500,000 in funding from the state’s PARC Grant program. That would mean that the city would have to come up with an additional $220,000. The new park is estimated to cost $720,000.

City Planner John DePriest said that the city’s application for state funding is due on July 15th and they’re putting on the final touches right now. He said that he and City Manager Jay Ash are very positive about their prospects.

“We’ve always done well in getting these grants,” said DePriest. “We have a good relationship with the state because we perform well.”

The City said – if it gets the grant – it would finish construction in June 2012.

The next community concert will be held on Aug. 4 at 6 p.m. in the Box District, and though it won’t yet be in a new park, it will still be reason to celebrate.

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