An unnamed volunteer, left, Barbara May and Kait Cornell look over plans for the park. Behind them is Lorraine Maloney, in red.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — On Saturday morning, if you drove down Main Street or past the post office you probably noticed a lot of activity going on at the corner of Main and Ashland streets.
A local group, Develop North Adams, and volunteers were hard at work rejuvenating a pocket park for the whole community to enjoy.
Coordinators Glenn Maloney and Kait Cornell worked for three months to plan the day. With the help of donors and volunteers, in the span of one day they transformed what had been a plot of overgrown bushes back into an inviting urban gathering place complete with chess table.
Why? "We realized that rejuvenating the life in our downtown was imperative," said Maloney. "As a community we need to have simple reasons to come together, we need to have a reason and a place to interact and get to know one another. If we are going to grow as a community we need to have a sense of community and make an attempt to know and like each other. We have a beautiful city center, a perfect place to walk, sit, chat.
"We also hope by learning to gather we could begin to support our local small businesses and shops better. We talked about benches and flowers. People came to me wanting to donate money for benches; we then realized that there was a huge amount of interest in the project."
A number of benches have been installed around the downtown in the past year and a pocket park created on Eagle Street in a lot left vacant after the Tropical Gardens pet shop building burned.
DNA has plans to continue, Maloney said.
"We have a growing base of muscle. MCLA's Community Day of Service is a part of the Greenspace Initiative, helping to maintain the spaces. Pat Wol has joined our group and will be working with the veterans agencies to put together a plan to better maintain the veteran's park. She helped us discover an unused park improvement donation fund; there will be some improvements coming to the veteran's park very soon."
Maloney said as the details are finished and the last bench installed downtown for this year, the group will begin to identify to the next project, possibly small quick projects and maybe one larger project.
"Our goal is simple: Get people to come together, give whatever it is they can give, be it money, time or positive energy and use it to make our community a bit prettier."
If you'd like to get involved, donate or just keep tabs on the group you can visit the DNA website.
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Congratulations to all the volunteers who participated in creating the new "pocket park" this past Saturday. Kait Cornell and Glenn Maloney led a group of very dedicated volunteers who created this new gathering place for our residents and visitors to North Adams. I urge you to try out the new benches and enjoy the beautiful flower display. Kait did wonderful work in leading the volunteers in the preparation and placement of the plants. A job well done.
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