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Re: “Fort Needham Memorial Park

I have that sinking feeling that comes when the battle is already lost, but I want to support many of the comments above. This park is a North End oasis and any decisions about how to maintain or improve it should be made by the people who use it most. That is just common sense.

While I moved to the North End late in the planning process, and I'm no urban planner, it doesn't take a genius to see that this plan was not really shaped by the needs of the community. Were efforts made by the city to accommodate the community's desires? Up to a point. Should some of the responsibility be borne by the community that was not engaged in large enough numbers? Also, yes, up to a point.

My own views as a starting point: Does the Halifax Explosion deserve a memorial close the site of the event? Yes. Is the current memorial sufficient? Barely - it's a little weird to my eyes. Is the park a good place for the memorial? Yes. Should the memorial dominate the park (visually or otherwise)? Definitely not. Could the park use some improvements? Yes. Do people as a rule embrace change, even for the better? No.

If I were making the decisions, I would suggest that phase 1 of the master plan (with one exception) is sufficient, and that the other phases should be scrapped. Phase 1 increases the usability of the wooded areas of the park, improves access, and improves the memorial itself. The exception of course is the creation of a "blossom plaza" and the destruction of the tennis courts.

A "blossom plaza" sounds frankly redundant in a beautiful, natural park setting. And the tennis courts, despite the data collected by the city, are a huge draw for everyone in the neighborhood. They receive daily use (particularly summers and weekends, of course) whenever weather permits. They could be rearranged perhaps into a multi-use court of some kind to accommodate other sports, but it seems a total travesty to remove a physical fitness facility that is actually used by children and adults all the time.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by takemetothecoast on 05/02/2016 at 4:01 PM

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