FRAMINGHAM – Shortly after 9 a.m., 30 individuals gathered in the chilly fall weather at 150 Irving Street for the groundbreaking ceremony for the future pocket park at this location.
Though the site is currently nothing more than a plot of gravel, it will transform into a park with a walking path, trees, benches and a pergola by fall 2020.
The park’s conception was part of an effort to create more green space in southeast Framingham.
Mayor Yvonne Spicer said that one of her five pillars on which she operates her administration is focused on preserving open spaces.
“This is another critical component of Framingham that we need to consistently focus on,” she said at this morning’s ceremony. Spicer added that she believes this park is a step in the right direction.
According to Sam Scoppettone, a planner for the City of Framingham, the lot, formerly the site of a school building that was taken down in the 1960s, was transferred from the School Committee to the City (then town) of Framingham in 2017.
The only condition attached to the lot was that it was to be used for open space purposes.
Framingham Parks and Recreation Director James Snyder said this was an “opportunity to add space to an otherwise densely populated neighborhood.”
When the idea for this pocket park arose, many agreed it would be a great addition to the City of Framingham.
However, as it was not an ‘urgent’ project, it would have taken a while to receive capital funding and planning. The solution? Crowdfunding.
Framingham Deputy Director of Community and Economic Development Erika Jerram said she discovered a technical assistance grant through Mass Development that would allow them to “utilize the services of a landscape architect to help create a design.”
After receiving the grant, Christine Wilson, of Copley Wolff Design Group, held a neighborhood meeting in October 2018 to build a park design that reflected what the community wanted.
Though there were five different designs created, there was a common theme among them: “To provide a little oasis of green space for the neighborhood to enjoy,” said Snyder. After a design was chosen, funding efforts began.
This project is unique in that it relied on crowdfunding through Patronictity.
Donations were accepted from May 1, 2019-June 30, 2019. The town raised just over $55,000 and had that amount matched by Mass Development, giving the project a total fund of $110,000. There were nearly 200 donors in total, most from the local area, but others from places like Texas and Iowa. The project received large donations from corporations such as Wegmans, Staples, MCR Labs and Avidia Bank.
Editor’s Note: In full transparency, Petroni Media Company LLC, which owns SOURCE donated to the campaign.
Now that the funds have been raised and the groundbreaking ceremony has been completed, the project can get underway.
As of today, the grand opening will be sometime in Fall 2020.
Though there is no set date yet, the Mass Development grant requires the project to be completed by next fall.
According to Snyder, the goal of this park is to bring the community together and “to make this a safe space for children to wait for their school bus and where neighbors can gather and build a sense of community.”