Rainbow Park Gets Thumbs Up

A rainbow rose on Edgewood Avenue, lifted by lots of little hands.

The rainbow was on a new sign for an eponymous pocket park, between Dwight and Howe. The arched sign’s six bands of colors were formed by 420 thumbprints of different hues, each made by a different student at Amistad Academy Elementary School, nearby on Edgewood Avenue.

The new sign is the third to mark the pocket park since its creation in the 1990s, when the neighborhood was “out of control,” said Pat Wallace, who lives next door. “It’s just been a wonderful community space.”

Wallace (at center, with Linda Townsend-Maier and 9-year-old Sally Arnott) said former neighbor Helen Leber officially got the property designated a city park, with “official puttering rights.” Leber saw the park as a cool refuge for senior citizens on hot summer days. Leber did most of the initial planting, said Wallace.

“The sign has always been an expression point of connection with the neighborhood,” Wallace said. The two previous signs were made by people at Fellowship Place and the Parents’ Foundation for Transitional Living.

The most recent sign had been showing its age when it was taken out in a recent storm. Wallace bought the wood for a new sign, which was cut by carpenter Orville Claxton, and painted by the Amistad schoolchildren.

Townsend-Maier, head of the Greater Dwight Development Corporation, was the first to show up to Monday morning’s sign-raising. She reminisced about the early days of the park, when she owned a house whose backyard bordered the lot.

“Those were the days” the neighborhood had trouble with drug-dealing and prostitution, she said. “We pushed back. You see we have this lovely park.”

A music student used to come and play his violin in the park on the weekends, Townsend-Maier said. “It made it a joy to be out in the yard.”

Wallace said people still come to play music in the cool and verdant park, which is open to all, at all hours—now with a new sign.

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posted by: Corinne Blackmer on June 25, 2014  7:22pm

I live on 163 Dwight, and this is a wonderful improvement to an already great park.  Thanks to all the children and neighborhood volunteers.