National Grid Project To Delay Pocket Park Construction

No major concerns were raised about the design of the proposed Forsyth Pocket Park at a community meeting held earlier this month, according to Director of Housing and Community Development Alex Train.

“We discussed with neighbors general operations and maintenance concerns as it relates to the neighborhood and the future park,” stated Train. “The City is currently developing new maintenance plans for each park/playground with respect to daily maintenance, plant/tree care, equipment maintenance, and general site management.”

However, there will be a delay in getting the project underway due to some planned work by National Grid. Construction on the pocket part was originally slated to get underway late this summer.

“We were notified by National Grid that the agency will have to relocate an existing gas main under the site before we begin construction,” stated Train. “Unfortunately, this is slated to occur in October, so the City’s construction contractor cannot begin work until the gas main work is completed.”

Earlier this spring, the City Council approved $350,000 in Community Preservation Act funding for the project.

The Forsyth Pocket Park funding will be used to convert an existing, city-owned parcel into a public park that will include a seating area, bike rack, shade trees, and green infrastructure. The triangular parcel is located uphill from Carter Heights Apartments where Forsyth Street becomes Sturgis Street and extends to Lafayette Avenue.

The project is related to the reconstruction of the historic Franklin Avenue staircase, and original plans for the pocket park called for setting aside a space of about 25 feet by 15 feet.

Connecting Lafayette Street to Franklin Avenue, the aging staircase is frequently used by residents to access Cary Square and nearby bus service, according to Train. Addressing deteriorating concrete, poor lighting, and overgrown vegetation, along with the limited visibility and other issues raised by residents, the project saw the staircase fully redesigned, in consultation with surrounding neighbors. The design comprises precast concrete stairs and landings, architectural hand railings, bollard lighting, and a series of shrubs and trees to beautify the space.

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