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AriPVD

Burnside Park

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For those of you not at the meet-up last night at tazza, I'll briefly review something that came up that I think we can have an significant and immediate impact on. I was speaking with Alix Ogden (parks superintendent) and Thom Deller (dir. of planning) about the deplorable state of Burnside Park, adjacent to Kennedy Plaza. Alix told me that her staff cleans the park 7 days a week but its still in horrible condition.

I think this is a place where the urban planet group may act and make a real difference. I'm going to set up a meeting with Alix and Dan Baudouin, the director of the Providence Foundation and the man who controls the very successful DID. I will also work with a few of my corporate contacts to investigate some sponsorship or a possible "angel" for the park. Even if we just do some regular seasonal plantings or something like that we could make a big difference. Who might want to be involved in this? Let me know and I will put the meeting together.

-Ari

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I would be interested in helping with plantings and the like. The WBNA does this twice a year for Dexter Park. It works well, however I think it should be done more than twice a year...

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I would be interested.

An idea for getting people involved with the park would be to do a spring plant sale during a spring clean up. People could come, help clean the park, help plant plants in the park, and buy plants for their own home, with part of the proceeds from the plant sale going to the park.

One of the primary issues with the park however is the fact that it's a gathering place for indigents. Their issues can't simply be ignored in the quest to clean up the park. Maybe there's something that Crossroads could become involved in as far as doing outreach to people in the park. Also Crossroads could be a source for employment for anyone that a possible future parks conservancy may hire.

PS: I actually really liked Thom's idea (or was it Joe Paolino's idea...) of putting a garage under the park a la Post Office Square in Boston. This of course is a longer term idea, but the time to start thinking about it is now.

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Now I really wish I had tried to find a seat in the group Monday night.

I have been experimenting with trying to commute to Newport via RIPTA bus and therefore have been spending more time in Kennedy Plaza. I was shocked at how trashed the park is at 7:30am. This is a time when the plaza is very busy and many impressions are made.

I recently missed my Newport transfer (more in the RIPTA thread eventually) so I got to make a few park observations while I waited 45 minutes for the next bus. First of all I would like to know when the trash accumulated. Is the parked only cleaned once per day? It looked that way as the trash had time to be blown around and then cling wetly to the fence, plants, and park benches. I had no desire to sit on the benches since they were surrounded by trash.

I did watch the maintenance staff empty the barrels (most of which were

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I have always thought that Burnside/City Hall Park should take a hint from NYC's Bryant Park. You've got a green quad with a popular outdoor activity venue (the rink) and transportation hub surrounded by city and federal govt., the Biltmore, a storefront for one of RI's biggest businesses (CVS), three mega-banks, AND best of all, the philanthropic kingpin RI Foundation. In my opinion, RI FOundation should take the lead in organizing some philanthropic action outside its front door, and the banks and all their tenants should be pitching in big-time. The Monday Market and rink already demonstrate that this is a great gathering spot...

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I have always thought that Burnside/City Hall Park should take a hint from NYC's Bryant Park.

That's my mantra about Burnside as well, although Post Office Square in Boston may be more applicable. Some sort of kiosk where food is sold (a permanent structure, ideally more than one, a seasonal Dell's stand...), and some sort of outdoor dining area would boost the appeal tremendously. Alix Ogden from the Parks Dept. spoke last night about the difficulty of programming parks in areas where only adults will use them. In the outer neighbourhoods, you throw up some swings and suddenly the park is in use. Downcity you need to program the park for adult use.

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Anyone think taking down the gates around Burnside could help it out a lot? I never wanna walk through it cause, well, you can't. Maybe if you didn't feel locked in once you were inside it then more people would go in and enjoy it.

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I've emailed Dan Baudouin...I'll let you all know what I hear. I think we might also want to talk to the people who run the farmer's market about setting something more permanent up at Burnside Park.

Yes, I really liked the Monday Market, but found it a little thin (I'm spoiled by having lived in New York and going to markets at Union Square and Bryant Park). Monday Market is rather chicken and egg I know. The farmers don't want to go there unless they know they can make money, and they won't make money unless there are enough of them to attract enough customers to spend money. I haven't been yet, but I think having the Holiday Market open on Saturdays is great and would have helped the Monday Market concept.

One thing that Bryant Park had (everyone realizes Bryant Park is my all time favourite park right :lol: ) is a holiday craft/gift market. They set up little room like structures all around the edges of the park and for several weeks before Christmas, it was open daily, and into the evening. It could be cold as all get out, but it would be packed with people every night (obviously there's a critical mass of people in New York that is lacking in Providence). And this wasn't a craft fair, there was real high end stuff at this place. I know that RISD works really hard as it is to get the spring and fall Alumni Sales off the ground, and maybe they aren't the ones to organize it (AS220 could work with them maybe), but something that went over a weekend at least of high end gifts available in Burnside could be a big attraction. Wouldn't have to be just independent artists either, shops like OOP! and Abode could certainly have booths as well.

This was a response to Ari in the Forum Meet thread, but it actually belongs over here

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Some sort of kiosk where food is sold (a permanent structure, ideally more than one, a seasonal Dell's stand...), and some sort of outdoor dining area would boost the appeal tremendously.

Haven Bros.!! :silly:

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Yes, I really liked the Monday Market, but found it a little thin (I'm spoiled by having lived in New York and going to markets at Union Square and Bryant Park). Monday Market is rather chicken and egg I know. The farmers don't want to go there unless they know they can make money, and they won't make money unless there are enough of them to attract enough customers to spend money. I haven't been yet, but I think having the Holiday Market open on Saturdays is great and would have helped the Monday Market concept.

One thing that Bryant Park had (everyone realizes Bryant Park is my all time favourite park right :lol: ) is a holiday craft/gift market. They set up little room like structures all around the edges of the park and for several weeks before Christmas, it was open daily, and into the evening. It could be cold as all get out, but it would be packed with people every night (obviously there's a critical mass of people in New York that is lacking in Providence). And this wasn't a craft fair, there was real high end stuff at this place. I know that RISD works really hard as it is to get the spring and fall Alumni Sales off the ground, and maybe they aren't the ones to organize it (AS220 could work with them maybe), but something that went over a weekend at least of high end gifts available in Burnside could be a big attraction. Wouldn't have to be just independent artists either, shops like OOP! and Abode could certainly have booths as well.

This was a response to Ari in the Forum Meet thread, but it actually belongs over here

Perhaps some of you were at the conference sponsored by Citywide Green a couple weekends ago. One of the sessions was about art in the parks and the kind of attraction art and art events generate. On summer weekends, the National Park Service used to allow Art on the Mall, where a long stretch on one side of the Mall near the Lincoln Memorial was set aside for artists to set up and sell their stuff. Maybe Burnside would be a small scale version of this. Or just have a real flea market, not the kind of plastic junk mostly sold at Rocky Hill or Valley Street, but a real market with interesting, eclectic things.

I agree that the Monday Market is still way too thin. But then, if you look at the postings in the Providence Journal, DEM never even lists the Monday Market! The only ones they promote are off in South County or Colt State Park! It's crazy! Downtown will never work unless there's a place for people to walk for groceries.

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Haven Bros.!! :silly:

Yes, it may go against their history as a mobile food vendor, but putting Haven Bros. into a permanent structure at Burnside Park would be ideal. They have a proven track record with the Downtown clientele translating into an instant customer base. They already do a swift business thoughout the year, at night and through the winter, so people wouldn't have to be retrained into thinking to use it at night and during the winter... Haven Bros. in Burnside would create a nighttime presense and lighting that the park needs to feel safe. A small kiosk, about the size of their trailer, with a small seating are out front, it wouuld be terrific (I'd also like to see a sizable red neon Haven Bros. sign be part of the structure, as much as some architecture critics at the ProJo would have a stroke about it). I'd add another kiosk that did coffee and pastry to give a morning presense to the park, and a teeny little Dels stand (could be seasonal) and Burnside is on it's way to becoming Bryant Park :lol:

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This is what the food kiosks look like in Bryant Park, I would envision something similar for Burnside, although if Haven Bros. were to live in one I see their's being more chrome and neon.

BryantPark.jpg

They also have some much smaller ones, a Ben & Jerry's stand, and a Starbucks stand (the Starbucks used to be independent :angry: )

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I think we should toss some more ideas around at the next meeting and decide on a plan of action but you can definitely count me in on this.

P.S. Sorry I couldn't make the last meeting.

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A New York Times article about my favourite park, Bryant, and area residents' concerns about it's over-commercialization.

Knowing your affinity for this park, I was going to post the link. You beat me to it!

- Garris

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Misleading stories in ProJo make people fearful of Kennedy Plaza:

This is what was on the ProJo site:

downtownassault.jpg

Oh my god, that's terrible, someone was raped in Kennedy Plaza! Well, yes, it's terrible, but that's not actually what happened. If you read the article you'll find the woman left the bus in Kennedy Plaza walked through the West Exchange tunnel under the Convention Center, and the suspect first made contact with her behind the convention center under the highway. The actual assualt took place at 300 West Exchange, about a mile from Kennedy Plaza. About 2 blocks from my house. The assualt occured on Federal Hill, but the tease on the Metro section of the website leads you to believe it happened in or near Kennedy Plaza.

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I remember all of my high school english teachers telling us how they hated the Projo. Poorly written and very one sided stories.

The projo seems to hate Providence................

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The projo seems to hate Providence................

No, I don't think they hate Providence. It's just that bad news sells. They condecend to play on people's fear of Providence, especially downcity.

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The fear is just as real if you say what actually happened, the woman was raped on Federal Hill, hell I live on Federal Hill, I walk that area in the dark (this was 6 in the evening) quite often. For some reason, ProJo decided to go with this 'bus' and 'Kennedy Plaza' angle. Riding the bus and being in Kennedy Plaza have nothing to do with anything, she probably had a cup of coffee and ate a sandwich earlier that day as well, but they did not contribute to her assault anymore than riding a bus or being in Kennedy Plaza did.

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Hey all-

well i just wanted to say that this weekend, me and my gf went to NYC...i was comparing NY to RI.. and theres too much to say because theyre both different cities... but i came across an idea when i was in the rockafella center... and it seems like we have similar envoirments... just no waterfall... but i think something like that here would look great... we need a place where ppl can take pictures, we need a signature monument. ..... give me your thoughts

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