What do signs communicate?

In 1990, Mary Jane Lee Park was called Prince Street Park, or perhaps just the park at Prince Street. People don’t remember, and even now, many simply call it “the little park.” That year talks originated in the neighborhood association to dedicate the land as proper parkland that could benefit from city services: protection, clean-up, signage. A year later, a resident of Prince Street and an active member of the Salem Harbor Community Development Coalition, Mary Jane Lee died on a late June Saturday. In 1993, the land was dedicated as proper parkland and named after her. The sign proclaims Mary Jane Lee Park even if few park goers know who she was. A long-time resident bemoans the other, hostile signs in the park: seemingly simple park hours, posted on chain-link fences. “You don’t see it in other parks.” He’s been to other parks in the city, in wealthier neighborhoods. “You don’t see those signs in the [Salem] Common.” he says.

All quotations from an interview in Mary Jane Lee Park with Point residents. September 17, 2012

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