I attended this month’s meeting of the Friends of Christopher Columbus Park where a large group discussed the organization’s efforts toward the waterfront park.
President Joanne Hayes-Rines reviewed some of FOCCP’s recent accomplishments. For the first time, the park was integrated into the neighborhood’s Columbus Day activities. The Parade stopped at the park where a wreath was placed at the statue of Christopher Columbus.
One of the groups most visible work is the lighting of the trellis each year which costs nearly $30,000. FOCCP also contributed $500 toward entertainment at this year’s Trellis lighting.
The annual fundraising gala was a big success, raising about $53,000 for the groups activities. Ticket sales reached 340 which was a less than last year, but largely due to the venue change to the Marriott from the Intercontinental. The group discussed changing the gala from November to the Spring given the group’s activities on Columbus Day in October and the trellis lighting in December.
On the horticulture front, Mary Ann Esparo, reported they have 9 volunteers that meet twice a week starting in April. Plantings will begin in June. They are always looking for volunteers and a larger group helps avoid burnout. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.
An event for children to become involved in horticulture is being planned for the coming year. The kids will work in the park and have a project to take home.
The group is working on installing a new bulletin board, which has been delayed by logistical and construction issues leaving just the frame at present. However, the group is optimistic the board will arrive soon.
The local parents group loves the tot lot at the park, but complained that the sun was hot around midday during the summer. In response, FOCCP is researching a canopy to cover the tot lot. (Ed: Is anyone concerned that a cover will make the area damp, dark and cold in the Spring and Fall seasons?) A concern regarding liability was also raised. A tot lot cleanup is expected in May.
In response to a question, I reviewed the status of the “Shadow Bill” which includes Christopher Columbus Park as one of the parks that would be protected from shadows caused by excessive development. The group did not send a letter or take a position, but a member spoke in support at the hearing.