East side of Greeley Park now considered for Nashua playground
NASHUA — After listening to feedback from an independent consultant, city officials this week are proposing that the future Legacy Playground be constructed on the east side of Greeley Park, a move playground officials think is feasible.
“We are one step closer to a shovel in the ground,” said David Deane, president of the Board of Aldermen, after the board decided to amend a plan that would have originally placed the fully accessible playground on the west side of Greeley Park.
Aldermen have now referred the newest proposal to the aldermanic Committee on Infrastructure for a public hearing June 11. The committee will then vote on whether to recommend the east side of Greeley Park for the playground’s future home, and the matter will be voted on by the full board in the coming weeks.
“I think everybody wants to get this done,” said Alderman Ken Siegel, Ward 9.
The location of the playground, which is being organized and funded by Greater Leadership Nashua, has been a contentious and divisive issue in the city for the past several months. However, after an independent consultant conducted a study to determine the best possible site for the play structure, alderman agreed with the study’s findings to consider constructing the playground at Greeley Park East along the south side of the access road.
Eric Brand, project manager, said Tuesday that after speaking with some members of Greater Leadership Nashua, the group can be on board with the latest recommendation even though it was hoping to build on the west side of the park where the existing playground stands.
“Nashua is quite lucky in that you have so many (sites) to choose from,” said Jennifer Brooke, an independent designer and consultant for the Institute for Human Centered Design, the firm hired to conduct the study.
Brooke noted that the east side of Greeley Park already has an existing fence, there is a minimal slope to the property and there is access away from a busy road.
The west side of Greeley Park is not as ideal, according to Brooke, who said the parking is problematic. There is a slope leading up to the site and the existing play equipment at the location is unique and should possibly remain.The play equipment on the west side of Greeley Park, even though it is aged, serves well for older children, according to Brooke.
“There is no such thing as a bad site,” said Brooke, explaining there are, however, infrastructure costs to consider that would be necessary to make each site great.
Alderman David Schoneman, Ward 3, said he was pleased with the study, and is hopeful that it will be useful to reunite the community and move the playground process forward.
“I am a fan of your number one choice,” agreed Alderman Michael Soucy, Ward 5, adding he would prefer to keep the west side of Greeley Park more natural, with the various activities and new playground stationed on the east side.
Throughout the process, Alderman-at-Large James Donchess says it has become apparent that a master plan is crucial for Greeley Park, a recreational area that has an existing building moratorium.
The public hearing on the site location for Legacy Playground, a $250,000 gift to the city, will take place at 7 p.m. on June 11 at Nashua City Hall.