August 27, 2019
On Tuesday evening, Mayor Blalock welcomed neighborhood residents to a celebration of the renovation and reopening this summer of Rock Street Neighborhood Park.
The City utilized federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development as well as Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) funds to make the safety and sustainable living improvements at this park. The renovation project was co-managed by the Community Development and Public Works Departments.
Landscape Architect Terrence Parker from Terra Firma in Portsmouth, along with Alex Ross from Ross Engineering in Portsmouth, completed the design, facilitated two public listening sessions in January 2019 and oversaw construction along with DPW Engineers and City Arborists. Syvinski Excavation, Inc. from Seabrook was awarded the construction contract and from all accounts have done a very good job on this project. Construction was underway in spring 2019 and substantially completed by early July.
Parker’s vision, based on the neighborhood input, was “to create a more open, safe and sunny space with a central gathering spot and where the park perimeter is visually reinforced with the existing sitting walls and views into and out of the park are improved.”
The park renovation incorporated requests for better lighting, more seating areas, a new basketball hoop and play equipment for our youngest residents. In addition, Peter Happny, Rock Street area resident and local blacksmith, agreed to relocate his original artwork into a newly fabricated frame and have it installed as a threshold piece at the Rock Street entrance. Local artist Jane Fithian collaborated with Mr. Happny on the frame art as well.
Other project work included:
• Reconstructed the pathway through the park and increased lighting
• Replaced damaged trees with low plants and size-appropriate trees
• Replaced swing set, adding infant swing, and refreshed playground equipment
• Added rock “climbing/stepping” element and new granite seating walls in the central gathering spot
• Added/replaced fencing where needed and spruced up border edges and entrances
• Repainted basketball court and replaced basketball hoop and backboard
• Installed drinking water fountain
Mayor Blalock concluded the event saying, “With the playground and greenery improvements and the repositioning of Peter Happny’s distinguished art work to a visually prominent place within the park, Rock Street Park is revitalized to serve the neighborhood’s current and future needs for safe, passive green space enjoyment and family play activities.”