Karen Falkenberg lives across the street from McCormick Park and looks out onto the playground every day. Perhaps this is why she’s been such a leader in getting things happening at the park. With the proceeds of the most recent bake sale she organized she has raised a lot of money for programming such as the Eco Art in the Park. She along with a few other key members of Friends of McCormick Park were involved in the redesign of the playground this past summer. I wanted to find out more about this experience.
■ – How long have you lived in Brockton?
Karen Falkenberg – I moved to Brockton Village 4 ½ years ago.
■ – When and how did you get involved with the redesign of McCormick park?
KF – I heard about Friends of McCormick Park Early in 2013, and that a master plan had been drafted for the park. I learned that $150,000 from section 37 had been earmarked for the playground and a re-design was going to happen in 2014.
Because the playground, and park as a whole, is such an integral part of the community, a place where the neighborhood connects and spends countless hours, the re-design needs to reflect the voice of the community. I felt it was critical to gather as much information as I could from regular park users about specific elements in the playground – present and possible.
In this process, I did my best to represent and give voice to the park community.
■ – Who did you work with to get the park redesigned?
KF –I worked together with Brockton neighbours Lisa Martin, and Barbara Wodnicka to draft an information gathering survey. I was in contact with GameTime regarding the current play structure, overall plan view and possible re-configuration and replacement options. I worked with Lisa Martin to compile and present our document to Harrington McAvan Landscape Architects.Ana Bailao and her assistant Nicholas Gallant are an active part of Friends of McCormick Park. Alex Mutt was the Senior Project Manager from Parks and Recreation at City Hall.
■ – How do you feel about the finished design? Is is everything you hoped for? Do you feel like your efforts were worth all the work you put in?
KF –With everything there is compromise however, overall I feel that the community input was critical and very much worth the effort. The feedback at the draft proposal presentation was quite united. With this strong voice the main elements were addressed accordingly.
■ – You are an inspiration with all the work you have done for the park. Why do you do it?
KF – The park is a really important place for so many people and for so many reasons. It brings people together, creates community, and makes a stronger, safer network of neighbours. Hopefully, with a little bit of collective effort, the payoff for the community can be great.