A rendering of the new and improved Latchstring Park plan and a sign with fundraising progress at the Yarmouth park. Rachel Vitello / The Forecaster

The Latchstring Park Task Force has raised more than 40% of the $350,000 needed to improve the Yarmouth pocket-park.

“Momentum is building,” Task Force Chairperson Susan Prescott said. “Every week we’re getting more and more donations. We’re grateful for all donations of any size.”

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

The $150,000 raised so far includes a $100,000 donation by the Yarmouth Village Improvement Society back in May that helped kick off the  fundraising campaign, and more than 100 community members have made donations, Prescott said. In addition, an anonymous donor will match the next $10,000 that’s raised.

The task force had hoped to meet its goal last month, but the pandemic impacted fundraising efforts, Prescott said,  and the task force has not yet set a new deadline. Once the full $350,000 is raised, the project will go to the town Planning Board for final approval. Prescott said she hopes construction can begin in the spring.

“Right now, the park doesn’t live up to its potential at all,” she said. “There’s so much new construction and renovation happening on Main Street that’s exciting. This park is an entry to our town, it should be a focal point and a gathering place.”

The plan for the 30-year-old park includes plenty of seating “where you could sit down after grabbing a coffee or sandwich, kids could meet down here after school, it’s just a real space for the community to gather,” Prescott said.

The revamp of the half-acre park at the corner of West Main and West Elm streets in the village will benefit the town, officials say.  

“Creating an inviting and accessible place to gather while visiting the village will complement the Main Street streetscape improvements that were recently completed,” Town Planning and Development Director Erin Zwirko said.

Town Councilor Robert Waeldner said improvements to the community space will help enhance Yarmouth’s appearance for people coming from out of town.

“I see this as a positive thing for the community. The way the park is currently laid out is kind of haphazard. It has a lot of pavement and hasn’t been updated in many, many years,” Waeldner said. “It’s a gateway to our Main Street from the west. If you’re coming from North Yarmouth or Gray, it’s the first thing you see as you come into downtown. It could really be improved and become more functional for residents as well.”

The redesign includes a lit pathway with bike racks, a lawn for activities, increased short-term parking and relocating the Latchstring Award monument – dedicated to Yarmouth residents who contribute to the town through citizenship and leadership – to the center of the park.

More information on the project and how to donate can be found at yarmouthcommunityservices.org. Prescott said she and other task force members will also be happy to answer any specific questions. They hope to hold informational events in the future to help increase interest and knowledge about the project, she said.

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