The future layout of Yarmouth’s Latchstring Park. Contributed / Susan Prescott

Fundraising has begun for an estimated $350,000 revitalization of Yarmouth’s Latchstring Park, a project that has been a few years in the making.

The goal is to complete the fundraising stage by late August or early September, when the Latchstring Park Task Force will present its plans to the town Planning Board. Allowing for a permitting process of a couple months, the work will then go out to bid and it is hoped construction will begin next spring, task force Chairwoman Susan Prescott said Tuesday.

Latchstring Park in Yarmouth’s Upper Village now has no identity, says a landscape architect working on its revamp. File photo / The Forecaster

The Yarmouth Village Improvement Society has pledged $100,000 for the project, which “when completed, will not only be an enhancement for today but also into the future for all to enjoy,” the society’s Board of Trustees wrote in their pledge letter.

The park, at the corner at the corner of West Main and West Elm streets, is home to the Latchstring monument, dedicated to Yarmouth residents who contribute to the town through citizenship and leadership. The monument will be moved to the center of the park for “for visibility and prominence,” according to the task force.

The plan, which “complements the character of Yarmouth,” calls for less asphalt and more greenery of the low-maintenance, native variety. Benches, pole lights, bike racks and trash receptacles will be installed.

“Relocating the parking to the side creates one larger contiguous green space, effectively doubling the area available for people to enjoy,” a task force report states.

“It is important to improve the current green space, located on a busy corner of Yarmouth, while creating pedestrian friendly walkways and a quiet location for relaxation and meditation for all ages,” Pam Adams, the 2015 Latchstring Award winner, said .

Josh Tompkins, a Yarmouth landscape architect, is responsible for the park’s redesign design and hopped on board with the project after reading a Forecaster article about the early stages of the task force’s work in January 2020, he said.

“At present, it’s called a park, but this is the furthest thing from what a park should be,” Tompkins said. “It’s a tired space without any real purpose or identity. We are essentially creating a real park from scratch.”

The project began with a cleanup of the park in the fall of 2018 by a handful of volunteers who were concerned with its condition and believed the park was not receiving adequate maintenance. In the summer of 2019, the Town Council officially appointed a task force to come up with a renewal plan and work began that fall.

Main Street business owner Heather Veitch was eager to show her support for the task force’s work.

“A reimagining of this space is long overdue,” said Heather Veitch, owner of Gingham, a women’s clothing store. “Reducing the amount of pavement in this park should make the space more inviting for pedestrians and kids on the way home from school.”

Veitch said the redesign is a more efficient use of the space and “will certainly make this corning more inviting.”

Prescott said a donation page will be available on the town website under the “Parks & Recreation/Yarmouth Community Services” tab Tuesday or Wednesday.

The current layout of Latchstring Park in Yarmouth. Contributed / Susan Prescott

 

 

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