From Mayor Finch:
Residents and local officials (on Saturday) joined Mayor Bill Finch for the official opening of the first phase of the new Knowlton Park on the City’s East Side. The new five-acre, waterfront park was built on the site of a former factory building, and includes land given to the City by the Acme Shear Co.
“The City of Bridgeport is committed to opening up the waterfront so that more of our residents can enjoy it, whether it’s fishing, strolling or enjoying a picnic by the waterside,” said Mayor Finch.
Part of the City’s waterfront recapture initiative, the new Knowlton Park bordering the Pequonnock River was begun in spring 2011 using acreage donated to the City by the owners of the former Acme Shear Co., located across the street.
The five-acre park on the City’s East Side opens up access to the water for nearby residents.
Designed by Fuss & O’Neil, Phase 1 includes pre-cast benches and stainless steel chairs with tables that double as chess boards. Symmetrical gardens flank a brick paver walkway that leads down a set of stairs which will eventually open to a riverside walkway where visitors can stroll or fish. The green space was designed to channel rain water back into the ground, reducing runoff into the river.
“Our parks are the backbone of the City, and they’re the reason for our nickname–Park City. We’ve been working hard to clean up, spruce up and enhance our parks,” said Mayor Finch. “These green spaces are treasures that belong to all of us. We’re very thankful to Acme Shear Co., for their land donation, and to the adjoining property owners at 305 Knowlton–Pedro Wassmer and Mark Tillinger for their cooperation and assistance with this project.”
State Rep. Andres Ayala, D-128, City Council members Lydia Martinez, Manuel Ayala, Susan Brannelly, Leticia Colon, Denese Taylor-Moye and John Olson, and Barnum Festival Ringmaster Frank J. Carroll Jr., joined Mayor Finch in cutting the ribbon at the new park.
Six other events are planned throughout June, July and August at City parks including St. Mary’s by the Sea, McLevy Green, Seaside Park, Newfield Park, Veterans/Puglio Park, and Beardsley Park.
Saturday’s celebration also included a morning clean-up along Knowlton Street, a bike ride from Knowlton Street to downtown and back organized by John Wilkins and the Bridgeport Bazaar and General Market held monthly at Gallery 305K.
“Park City Celebration will highlight the work we’ve done to upgrade and enhance our parks, and it’s my hope that by inviting everyone in the City to take part that we can encourage residents to take pride in their parks and their neighborhoods,” said Mayor Finch. During the past 18 months, the City has installed new lighting in several parks, planted hundreds of trees and beach grass, constructed splash pads, repaired or replaced sidewalks and roadways in Seaside Park damaged in coastal storms, constructed pavilions and barbecue sheds as part of the Mayor’s Bridgeport@Work initiative.
The City of Bridgeport is home to 46 parks–the largest is Seaside Park at 325 acres, which, along with Beardsley Park, was designed by famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted.
Park City Celebration continues with the following events:
St. Mary’s by the Sea, June 24, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. – activities to be announced
McLevy Green, July 7, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. – 3rd Annual Bridgeport Arts Fest
Seaside Park, July 12, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. – Senior Walk and Fitness Classes
Newfield Park, July 28, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Fishing Derby, Fish Fry, Horseshoe Tourney and Cricket
Veterans/Puglio Park, Aug. 11, 10 a.m. to 12 noon – Disc Golf tournament/workshop
Beardsley Park, Aug. 18, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Softball tourney and relay races
More information about “Park City Celebration” can be found by logging on to www.parkcitycelebration.com.