via Allison Corneau, Eagle Tribune
Residents of the Prospect Hill neighborhood will soon have a safer, healthier and more inviting green space to spend leisure time, as Storrow Park gets a major overhaul.
Lawrence has received $400,000 from the state to upgrade the park with landscaping, seating and an accessible path to open up views to downtown.
This week, Mayor Daniel Rivera and city Community Development Director Vilma Martinez-Dominguez joined local and state officials to celebrate the grant with a visit to the park, which is on Prospect Hill between High and Pleasant streets. The park is named in honor of the city's first mayor, Charles S. Storrow.
"We're going to bring life to this park and, more importantly, stabilize and bring life to the path," Rivera said. "It was a place where neighbors said drug dealing was happening, and because of its low use, it (the path) was being used for a lot of bad things. This is going to really help the Prospect Hill area, make it safer and more efficient while also giving the area much-needed recreational space."
Martinez-Dominguez said focus groups were held with neighbors to hear their concerns about the area and wish lists for park upgrades. Many of the ideas suggested will be incorporated into the design, she said.
"Open spaces provide our residents and families affordable access to play and recreation, outdoor exercise, (ability to) breathe fresh air and clear our minds, as well as make social connection,'' Martinez-Dominez said, "activities that are important to us especially at a time when our everyday activities are restricted due to the COVID-19 pandemic,"
It is the first major upgrade Storrow Park has received in 19 years, Martinez-Dominguez said.
Once improvements are completed, Storrow Park will include basketball courts and areas for parkour — an activity that involves negotiating obstacles by running, jumping and climbing. The park will also include space for community exercise, a dog run, plenty of seating and interactive play elements for children. Artist renderings of the upgrades also show a path connecting the park to the area near Lawrence General Hospital.