"Not eating chard. That's what all those weirdos eat at their stupid picnics on the Hungry Ghost lawn." -Nina

September 09, 2007

Pulaski Park Redesign Committee Newly Formed

I've recently learned of the new Pulaski Park redesign committee formed by Bob Reckman, Chairman of the Board of Public Works. More information should be forthcoming. In the meantime, if you have any information or opinion on this, please comment below.

The committee members and their contact info is included below, in addition to the planned process drafted for the four months the committee has allotted for input, meetings, and planning. You should feel comfortable contacting them if you are as intrigued about this new new development in town as I am. Contact them with your thoughts and concerns, they do want to hear them. Your input will help shape the process, planning, and redesign. I have spoken with some of them already, and they have expressed their desire to help facilitate this in an inclusive and equitable way.

"The Committee will have a total of 14 voting members, including two members of City Council, 5 members of other City Boards, Shardool Parmar from the Hotel, 2 downtown residents, 2 business owners, a representative from the Youth Commission and someone whose children use the play structure in the Park." This committee was drafted to be "very broad based". Some might feel it is. Some might feel it is not. I certainly immediately questioned why Shardool Parmar from the Hotel was on it. Comments or thoughts on the choice of committee members, and or the planned redesign of the park? Please leave them in the comments below.

The news that the City of Northampton is forming a committee to redesign Pulaski Park, and the potential this redesign could have for a more equitable and democratic Northampton, even only in one small area of public space, is an opportunity for community building and visionary use of public space that could serve to inspire the residents of Northampton towards greatness for the next 30 years.

What if the park was redesigned to include a fountain for children to play in during the summer months? What if the redesign allowed easy viewing of free films from a digital projector on the wall of the Academy, a digital projector working from inside an office of Memorial Hall that housed the a new Pulaski Park working group? What if a weekly night for free films was reserved for a committee that consisted of residents of Hampshire Heights, for instance, or perhaps residents of the New South St. apartments, who would be allowed complete control over choice of films and showtime on Thursday evenings in the summer? What if the redesign allowed for four community corners in the park, with a book exchange in one corner, a cafe in the other corner, a free photo booth in one corner that automatically sent pictures taken to a page viewable by anyone online, and a community bulletin board in the fourth corner? These are the ideas I have thinking about it now. Are they ridiculous? Are they impossible? Economically prohibitive? Not interesting? I don't know, maybe they are. With that said, who knows what the community really wants. But it is imperative that we ask them, and ask the whole community. Ask, listen, and then help them implement these ideas. Every segment of every community of people who call Northampton their home should be invited to tell the committee what there desires are for this public space; downtown Northampton's faintly beating heart.

As Enrique PeƱalosa, the former Mayor of Bogota, Columbia (a city recognized internationally for it's visionary use of public spaces) once famously said,
Public space is for living, doing business, kissing, and playing. Its value can't be measured with economics or mathematics; it must be felt with the soul.
For those of you who believe power of public space to create a more equitable community, the redesign of Pulaski Park is manna from heaven. Will we seize this oppurtunity presented to create exemplary public space?

As someone from the Committee told me via email, "I want everyone...to seize the day and turn that park into something special that is in use by hundreds of people a day instead of the current dozens."




Member name Affiliation Phone # E-mail address

Nancy Denig Denig Design Associates 413-5851644 ndenig@denigdesign.com

Bob Reckman Board of Public Works 413-695-0281 bobreckman@aol.com

Jim Dostal City Council, BPW 413-586-1390 JMDostal@comcast.net

David Narkewicz City Council, T&P 413-586-7230 dnarkewicz@comcast.net

Andy Crystal Academy of Music 413-534-0243 ACrystal@oconnells.com

Ken Jodrie Planning Board 413-585-0702 kjodrie@cbaarchitects.net

Joe Blumenthal Downtown Sounds 413-586-0998 Musician@downtownsounds.com

Harriett Rogers Skera Gallery 413-586-4563 Harriet-Steve@skera.com

Shardool Parmar Pioneer Valley Hotel Group 413-231-7540 sparmar@pvhg.com

Deb Jacobs Tree Committee 413-584-3989 debjacobs44@gmail.com

Chris Kennedy Historic Commission 413-586-7059 e-modern@comcast.net

Rosa Ibarra Downtown Resident 413-582-0362 rosa@rosaibarra.com

Gina Ayvazian Downtown Resident 413-584-7280 margin17@comcast.net

Grace Fleming Youth Commission 413-584-9906 gmflem@hotmail.com

Mandy Gerry Northampton Parents Center 584-1915 grmg@comcast.net


Bruce Young City Planning Office 413-587-1263 byoung@northamptonma.gov

Ned Huntley DPW Director 413-587-1570 nhuntley@nohodpw.org

Rich Parasiliti DPW foreman, recreation 413-587-1577 rparasiliti@nohodpw.org

David Kutcher Arts Council 413-303-9612 david@confluentforms.com

Ann Marie Moggio Recreation 413-587-1040 amoggio@northamptonma.gov

Preparation July - August
Planning/DPW meeting
Case studies
--Related plans (hotel et al)

Site Assessment September
--Base plan update
Analysis & evaluation
--Physical/environmental factors
--Functional factors
--Cultural/aesthetic factors
--Legal factors

Program Development
Goals, objectives + criteria
3rd Tuesdays:
Committee I September 18

Conceptual Plans
--Alternative plans + features
--Committee II (preview) October 16
--Public Meeting I ditto

Plan Development
Draft schematic design

Committee III (preview) November 20
Public Meeting II ditto

Schematic design drawings
Budget projections
Committee IV (preview) December 18
Public Meeting III ditto

They will meet on the 3rd Tuesday of each month in the hearing room on the 2nd floor of City Hall. They are currently planning to have 4 meetings, so we should be done by the end of this year. Bob Reckman will be talking to Nancy Denning (a landscape architect who has donated her time and services) to be sure that our first meeting is a productive one. Please think about how you would like to see the Park when they are done with the schematic design. They look forward to seeing you all at 5 PM on September 18th. Please feel free to call or e-mail committee members if you have any suggestions or questions.

LABELS: pulaski park redesign, downtown, public policy, public space,