By Gordon Dritschilo | Correspondent
The city has a design for the new park on Baxter Street. Now it just needs $10,000.
Organizers are launching a crowdfunding campaign, hosted on the Rutland Recreation and Parks Department website, rutlandrec.com.
Mary Cohen, director of the home-ownership center at NeighborWorks of Western Vermont, said they expect to get the park built without taxpayer funding.
“It will be a city-owned park and they will help us maintain it, but we’re trying to raise funds from residents,” she said.
NeighborWorks took possession of the property that will become the park, 65-67 Baxter St., earlier this year as part of the city’s dedensification program in the Northwest Neighborhood.
The park’s design was chosen based on input from residents, and finalized at a neighborhood meeting. Cohen said architect Ed Clark provided a series of designs, each with one more feature than the last. Cohen said the chosen design was the most involved, with a play structure aimed at 2- to 5-year-olds, a bocce court, a pavilion, a merry-go-round, tetherball, benches and green space.
Cohen said the play structure will be relocated from the city school system’s Allen Street Campus (formerly known as the Success School). Rutland Blooms will do plantings and a church group from Roadside Chapel will build the pavilion, she said.
“They came to the plate pretty quickly, which is great,” Cohen said.
The property is the site of a house that was vacant for three years. NeighborWorks bought it for $15,000 under a $1.25 million federal grant for purchasing blighted properties and either demolishing and rehabilitating them. The Baxter Street property is the first one acquired under the program.
Cohen said demolition on the house had begun and is expected to take 30 days, with as much of the debris being recycled as possible.
“We’re hoping to have it completely down and leveled by Oct. 3, when there’s going to be a block party in the neighborhood,” she said.