ROCKPORT — A tiny park in Rockport Village is getting a facelift this week, with old juniper bushes pulled and plans for new shrubs getting underway.
The Goodridge Park project originated with the Rockport Parks and Beautification Committee, a newly formed municipal committee that has replaced the former Rockport Parks Committee. The latter committee effectively dissolved over the summer as some members chose not to serve again when their terms expired, while others resigned. (Read: Rockport Parks Committee loses members, leaving vacant seats)
The new committee consists of Chairwoman Haunani Wallace, Gretchen Leone, Secretary Maggie Timmerman, Steve Smith, Sue Kauck, Anna Remsen, Richard Lermond, Lea Anne Dunton, and select board liaisons Douglas Cole and Mark Kelley.
Goodridge Park itself is on Central Street, across from Seafolk coffee shop and Union Hall. It is almost postage stamp in size, with room for two round tables with four chairs each, a rock garden, and a bit of grass above.
In past years, a bench or two had been placed there, and the juniper bushes had been filling in around the large boulders.
But the place deserved more, the committee decided.
“It was general consensus that if we did nothing, it was an improvement!” said Chairwoman Wallace. “We feel that there are many strengths in the park — the rocks, the birches, the shaded area where the tables and chairs have been moved, and the harbor view. “
On Aug. 12, Rockport Public Works arrived and pulled the junipers out. The crushed stone got regraded, and the park was spruced up.
Meanwhile, curious citizens questioned the project: Why? How much was being spent? And what will be done to it?
Select Board member Cole said on Aug. 13: “The gravel area has been loamed and seeded as of this afternoon and some type of shrubs will go up on the hill. We are going for donations of the shrubs and volunteer labor will plant them. The grass seed was donated so as to cost, pretty much just town equipment and labor with several yards of loam.”
He added: “I believe the impetus for the project initially was Denise [Munger, Rockport Select Board member] suggesting removing the dead junipers that had winter kill. Once they had the mini excavator there it seemed to make sense to get rid of the gravel and weeds to spruce the place up.”
Chairwoman Wallace reported that on Aug. 14, the committee met to talk about Goodridge Park plans.
“With the guidance of two talented committee members, Anna Remsen and Lea Anne Dunton, we plan to start small and plant a few low maintenance plants in between the rocks, and gradually add to them,” she said.
”We anticipate that we will accomplish this by asking local nurseries to donate some plants and the labor will be performed by volunteers.”
As for project cost, Wallace said: “To date, the only expenditure has been $180 for loam, and of course, the labor and machinery provided by the town to remove the junipers. The goal is to maintain the beauty of the rocks, while adding shades of green.”
She said that Remsen and Dunton will recommend suitable plants, “including but not limited to dwarf evergreens, ornamental grasses, and low maintenance sedum.”
Some crew members of Rockport Public Works spent approximately one day on the project.
On Aug. 14, the committee met to address a full agenda. It follows:
Rockport Parks and Beautification Committee Agenda - August 14, 2019 - 5:00 P.M.
Meet at Goodridge Park (then relocate to Richardson Room)
1) Complete SWOT Form (Attached)
(If you cannot attend meeting, please complete SWOT form for Goodridge Park and pdf to Haunani)
2) Approve Minutes from July 17, 2019 meeting
3) Appoint Vice Chair and Secretary
4) Review Bylaws (Doug Cole)
5) Update on landscaping for Memorial Park and new Library ( Doug Cole)
6) Discuss benches program/policy (Doug Cole)
7) Mary Lea Park sign - Recommend moving?
8) Spreadsheet of Rockport Garden Club sites (Anna Remsen)
9) Recruiting committee members - success? - Data base?
Homework: SWOT all the other parks
Mary Lea, Cramer, Walker, Clam Cove, Harbor - bring to next meeting
NEXT meeting: Wednesday, September 11 - 5 PM Richardson Room
( all future meetings 2nd Wednesday - same time and place)