During the 2015 vision planning Owen Park was identified as one of the town's most valued treasures. During the same process, participants identified the need for improved maintenance and recommended facility changes to better accommodate the heavy use and diverse activities occurring at the park. Over the past year and a half a citizen group (Friends of Owen Park) worked with the town planning board and DPW to research the park history, document site conditions, identify the needs of different user groups and convened residents to set goals for future park improvements.
At the completion of the background research and goal setting, the town published a request for design services for a park master plan. With CPA funds approved at the 2016 town meeting, Mashek/MacLean Architects and Tom Wirth Landscape Architects were hired to conduct a participatory planning process for the park. Through a series of public meetings the design team presented design alternatives, facilitated public input, and then refined their design proposals based on community discussion and critique. In all, the design team prepared five design proposals. Through this process, we came to understand the various issues, opportunities and tradeoffs of different design options.
Park improvements will be implemented over time and in many cases will be influenced by the need to repair or replace existing elements at the park. Therefore the final document will not show a single solution but provide a series of diagrams that graphically present a range of options that will guide our decisions overtime. The master plan near is near completion and steps are underway to create a new park entry, establish an accessible upper seating area and renovate/rebuild the bandstand.
Over the past year the friends group worked with the town planning board and DPW to implement improvements at the park including: repairing the historic flag pole, plating two new gardens, relocating and leveling benches and repainting the band stand. The volunteers in Friends group will continue to partner with the Town DPW and the Vision Council to make park improvements and provide ongoing maintenance support.