LACONIA — Wyatt Park had been falling into disrepair and was used by few community members because of safety issues. Its basketball court needed resurfacing, there was no lighting, traffic patterns made it dangerous to walk or bike to, and it had become a place where police would regularly respond to late night disturbances and vandalism.
The City of Laconia, led by its Parks & Recreation Department, applied for and received a HEAL community grant in 2012 to help revitalize Wyatt
Park in the South End neighborhood of its city.
The HEAL grant included approximately $10,000 in grant monies and over $80,000 of training and technical assistance over the two-year grant
period. Laconia had selected Wyatt Park as a priority project because there were already several active community champions advocating for
upgrading the park.
Renovation plans were developed in response to feedback from residents and business owners in the Wyatt Park-South End community. Safety
and access to the park were some of the top concerns voiced by the community during several forums conducted by the city and HEAL NH over
nine months. They quickly realized they needed to bring in the Department of Public Works to address these issues. The DPW had just redone
one street near Wyatt Park, and another was on the docket to be repaved. The timing was critical.
Armed with renovation plans for the park and backed by community support, Kevin Dunleavy and Amy Lovisek of the Laconia Parks &
Recreation Department met with the Department of Public Works to make their case for safer access to the park. They were prepared to take
this to the City Council if that did not work.
Amy and Kevin met with Laconia’s Public Works Director, Paul Moynihan, and Assistant Director, Luke Powell, near the park to show them the plans.
“The timing was perfect,” explains Amy. “Two families with strollers were trying to cross the street to get to Wyatt Park. We all watched while the mothers had to remove the children from the strollers, carry their children and drag the stollers behind them, all while trying to dodge traffic.”
While the DPW already had a budget to repair a street in that area, the project was put to the front of the line and an additional $15,000 was
added to include extra safety and accessibility improvements including ADA-compliant tipdowns for the crosswalks.
According to Paul Moynihan, “We had recently done road upgrades on the street sections adjacent to Wyatt Park, but we hadn’t addressed
accessibility improvements to the adjacent sidewalk. The HEAL Grant initiative prompted us to revisit the pedestrian and active transportation
needs at this site and to broaden our view to accomplish similar improvements on other city roadway upgrade projects in the future.”
Support for the park did not stop at the DPW. When the City Council realized the support and momentum the park was receiving by the community, it reallocated $50,000 for improvements to Wyatt Park.
“HEAL was a catalyst for the Wyatt Park project,” said Amy. “The grant helped us get more support and feedback from the community, paid for some of the improvements, but, more importantly, helped us leverage our relationships with the other departments in the City to really make this
park a special place for families to get together.''
Improvements to Wyatt Park included:
• Water bubbler/bottle filling station in the park
• Bike rack and picnic tables
• High visibility signs, new crosswalks, sidewalks with tipdowns with detectable warning devices, and other pedestrian safety and accessibility measures
• New fencing and signage around the park
• Resurfaced basketball court painted for multiple use including basketball,four square, hopscotch, and pickleball
• Lighting inside the park for safety
• Walking path installed around the park perimeter with extra green space
Last Updated on Thursday, 17 April 2014 11:04
WATERVILLE VALLEY — Margret and H.A. Rey, authors of the Curious George children's book series and former summer residents of Waterville Valley, New Hampshire, were artists and adventurers, historians and naturalists, gardeners and environmental stewards. Today the legacy of their pursuits lives on in the Margret and H.A. Rey Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring the Reys' spirit of curiosity and discovery by increasing understanding and participation in art, science, and nature through programs for youth, adults and families.
The Curious George Cottage Artist in Residence is open to professional and emerging artists in all media – visual and performing arts, craftspeople, authors, poets, composers, eco artists and media artists. The Residency provides an opportunity to pursue and share art and the artistic process in the inspirational setting of New Hampshire's White Mountains.
For more information on the Curious George Artist in Residence and the opportunity to apply, please visit the Rey Center's website at www.thereycenter.org.
Last Updated on Thursday, 17 April 2014 10:57
LACONIA — Café Deja vu Pub Mania Team presents the Legends of the Lakes Region 1st Annual Music Jam on Saturday, April 26 starting at 8 p.m. at the VFW in Laconia.
Tickets are $15 per person and are available in advance at Café Deja vu, Studio 23, Dr. Buckle & Mr. Hyde, Greenlaws Music and Patrick's Pub & Eatery. Tickets purchased ahead of time receive a 10% discount on Thursday and Friday, April 26 and 27 at Café Deja vu, and on Thursday, April 26th at Patrick's Pub & Eatery
Event features various door prizes, raffles and a 50/50. Proceeds benefit 98.3LNH Children's Auction. For more information call 998-1418.
Last Updated on Thursday, 17 April 2014 10:53
GILFORD — Gilford's Weldon Bosworth announces the launch of a new website, BelknapRangeTrails.org.
This new website is intended to make easily accessible trail maps, trail descriptions and a variety of information on features in the Belknap Mountain Range in the Lakes Region of NH. The site has separate web pages with downloadable maps for most of the mountains in the Belknap Range. There also are downloadable trail descriptions for most of the blazed hiking trails in the range.
Many of these trail descriptions are from the AMC New Hampshire Trail Guide. Others have been written by BRATTS trail adopters. The Belknap Range trail map, newly updated this month, was developed by Weldon with the assistance of many who helped with the GPS and verification effort. These people included Steve Zimmer, Rick Andrews, Hal & Peggy Graham, Don Watson, Ron Klemarczyk, Bob Knoll, Dan Tinkham, Mike Ware, Nanci Mitchell, Everett Ricker, Alan Sherwood, Don Hughes and Steve Schor. The new map is downloadable from the new website and has been made available to most of the Lakes Region's libraries including Gilford, Laconia, Gilmanton, Alton, Tuftonboro, Barnstead and Sanbornton who may charge a nominal fee for their reproduction.
The content on the new BelknapRangeTrails.org website benefits significantly from the collaboration of both Dave Roberts and Hal Graham. Dave Roberts developed the first comprehensive hiking map of the Belknap Range, pioneered and blazed many new trails in the range, and perhaps more importantly, brought to the public descriptions of the many fascinating scenic, natural, recreational and historical resources of the Belknap Mountain Range. His original map, also available at local libraries, is a "gold mine" of information on the Belknaps and any visitor to the Belknap Range would benefit by becoming familiar with it. You will find several of his photos and descriptions on the new website.
Hal Graham, the President of BRATTS (Belknap Range Trail Tenders), has assisted in making the maps and trail descriptions on this site as accurate as possible. More significantly he has contributed thousands of hours of his time maintaining the hiking trails in the Belknaps, both by his own efforts and in leading a group of enthusiastic volunteer "Trail Tenders". Those who use these trails owe Hal and the BRATTS a hearty "thank you."
It is Weldon's hope that this new website will be a dynamic one which is updated often by hikers and backcountry visitors with new information on trails and features in the Belknap Range, including photographs of its scenic beauty.
Last Updated on Thursday, 17 April 2014 10:46