By Maryanne Saxon
Wind, weddings and weight were just a few of the hot topics at Monday’s planning workshop regarding the Pioneer Park renovation.
Architect Ken Smith and members of the Morristown planning board welcomed the public’s comments, questions and inspirations as they embarked on creation of an oasis in what for years has been a barren, underutilized space.
Town Planner Phil Abramson was pleased with the night’s turnout.
“I am thankful so many people came out tonight. What we have now is simply a background, what we want to hear from all of the people is what life we can bring to the space to make it a functional, livable space.”
Possibilities seemed endless for the updated plaza. Smith and his team displayed designs highlighting pumpkin festivals, fireworks displays, wedding receptions and movie nights.
Meeting attendees talked of walking paths, food trucks and cozy outdoor seating. Someone even suggested christening the renovated space with a Bruce Springsteen concert. A town can dream, right?
One resident was curious about how daily life would look in the updated space.
“Well,” responded Abramson, “what does YOUR daily life look like?”
The meeting’s purpose was to solicit public feedback. Planners want to know what will draw the thriving life on the Morristown Green toward what historically has been a “dead spot.”
DEAR SANTA, ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS A NEW CROSSWALK
One of the concerns Smith has encountered in the design stages is how to create a more direct route to the plaza.
There is no easy way for pedestrians to move from the Morristown Green to the Plaza or from North Park Place to the plaza.
With a proper crosswalk in place, however, entering Pioneer Park could be as easy as walking down North Park Place and crossing Speedwell. The fact that Route 202 is a state road and not a local one means some negotiations with the state are necessary.
Another major obstacle Smith and his “architectural workshop” must overcome is the wind. Once they figure out how to get people to the new hot spot in town… they must learn how to keep them from blowing away.
Nestled between two towers, the plaza sits in a prime wind tunnel and continually is impacted by wind flowing up from Evergreen Cemetery on Martin Luther King Ave.
Meeting-goers were encouraged to fill out Post-It notes with recommendations for re-designing the space. Representatives from local businesses joined several town officials, members of Grow it Green Morristown, and residents to share ideas, insights and enthusiasm.
“Everyone has been very open minded and trusting as we work through the designing process,” said Abramson.
This venture is a collaborative effort of the Olnick Organization and Fisher Developers, Morristown residents, town elected officials, and Ken Smith Architects.
Stay tuned to MorristownGreen.com for more news about Pioneer Park.