Thursday, March 29, 2012

Park-design potluck is BYOV

The City of Palmer is inviting you to a novel potluck this weekend to help plan a new public park in the Brittany Estates subdivision. It's BYOV - Bring Your Own Vision.
A toddler-age design idea for a new playground in Palmer.
The city hasn't picked any designs yet.
The city hopes to build the new park - they're calling it Wilson Park - on a half acre at South Felicia Street across from Gurn Circle. A new park tracks with the local demographic: Brittany Estates is a dense residential area home to lots of young families. 
But instead of kicking off the planning process with the usual wonky work sessions, Palmer’s community development director Sandra Garley decided to try something new: a community-based brainstorming session at a kid-friendly hour, with home-cooked food. 
Voila! The Wilson Park Design Event was born. The city will host the family-friendly potluck Friday from 5:30 p.m. until 8 p.m at the First Baptist Church at 1150 E. Helen Dr. Children are welcome. Bring a dish and your ideas for a new park. Garley, working with vendors, will bring posters showing different playground equipment designs to choose from.
Saturday morning, landscape architects from Sustainable Design Group in Wasilla will pore over the comments from Friday night and develop a drawing of what the park might look like. 
Then the community is invited to come back to First Baptist Saturday from 2 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. to see what materializes.
The city needs a new park in the fast-growing neighborhoods on the west side of the Glenn Highway that includes Brittany Estates, but also the Hidden Ranch and Greatland Terrace subdivisions too. Right now, there’s only one little “tot lot” off Arctic.
Another possible design idea,
 for 5-12 year olds.
The last new park built by the city? Garley thought for a minute. The MTA Events Center includes a soccer field that opens for the first time this year. Other city parks have been around for a while. 
Whatever comes out of this weekend’s process will go before the city council, where it will resume a more conventional route to creation that includes the requisite grant proposals. 
Garley said she doesn’t know how many people to expect at the potluck Friday night. The city sent invites to nearly 200 people. 
“Fifty or sixty would be awesome. Ten or twelve would be great,” she said. “We’re going to work with whoever shows up.”
She does know what she’s bringing: salmon. 
For more information, go to and scroll down to the “Wilson Park Design Event” link or call the Community Development Department at 745-3709.

 -- Zaz Hollander

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