Development:City,Residents Consider Designs for $1.1 Million Reconstruction of Gramstorf Park

By Katy Rogers

Tony Sousa, director of Planning and Development for the City of Everett, pointed to one of the designs proposed for the new Lower Florence Park.

Tony Sousa, director of Planning and Development for the City of Everett, pointed to one of the designs proposed for the new Lower Florence Park.

A public meeting was hosted at the Keverian School on Monday evening, Jan. 30, to discuss the future development of the Gramstorf Park, which is commonly nicknamed Little Florence Street Park.

The 0.7 acre park, which is located on the corner of Florence Street and Nichol Street, contains a well-used playground and basketball court in dire need of refurbishment.

The park is utilized for various activities throughout the year, including summer camp, school activities, YMCA lunch programs, and a number of daycare groups. The basketball court is very popular amongst all ages – from small children to adults.

Kaila Bachman, a representative from CBA Landscape Architects LLC, put on a presentation to showcase the various options of design and equipment that can be used in the park.

Two layouts were presented, which considered the repositioning of a refreshed basketball court with new striping, various playground equipment, a designated Port-A-Potty area, and shaded seating.

Design “A” featured a symmetrical park design while Design “B” had a more angular and contemporary approach. Each design equally presented the same amount of space designated for green area, playground area, and basketball. It was the overwhelming opinion of those present that Design “A” was more desirable for its symmetry.

Guests were invited to use sticky notes to give written input on the printed design concepts, including preferred equipment, colors, and layout.

Bachman explained that there is no need to move any of the entrances to the park. However as they stand now, they are uninviting and plain.

“The gates blend into the fencing and are hard to find. There is only one park name sign and it is obscured by a fence,” Bachman explained, showing off a number of concepts that would help liven the entrances.

Furthermore, as the park stands now, “Fences [within the park] divide the park and make it feel smaller than it is,” she explained, referring to the enclosed swings and playground. “The fencing is unattractive galvanized chain link,” she added, then showing images of more enticing fence designs, some of which included playful colorful cutouts.

During the presentation, a concerned neighbor of the park who wished to remain anonymous expressed her dissatisfaction with the monitoring of the park and playground, particularly after dark.

“I see everything,” she emphasized, “I have seen drug activities, sexual activities, kids playing in the park at all hours.”

She further elaborated that she has heard gunshots from the vicinity of the park. She stressed that the City’s priority should be monitoring the park more closely to avoid these issues, which are disruptive to the neighborhood.

Tony Sousa, director of Planning and Development for the City of Everett, assured that measures would be taken to make sure that the park has better lighting, monitoring, and new security cameras, which have all been considered in the redevelopment.

The newly designed park will include a new swing area, various playground equipment, a splash pad, a basketball court with refreshed striping, and potentially other elements such as adult fitness equipment.

If approved, construction would begin late spring and continue into the summer.

According to Sousa, “The redevelopment is anticipated to cost $1.1 million, with $300,000 of that coming from the Community Development Block Grant, while the remaining money would be funded by the Capitol Improvement Plan.”

Sousa thanked Councilor Simonelli, who was present at the presentation, for voting in favor of funding the project along with his colleagues on the council.

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