A Day of Participation in Mary Jane Lee Park

Egg Hunt CentralOn Saturday, March 30th, Doreen Thomas and The Friends of Mary Jane Lee Park hosted an Easter Egg hunt at noon. I arrived with Pamela Joye who has photographed the children in the park and wanted to share some prints with them. The children crowded her to view their likenesses.

Children view Pamela Joye Prints of Themselves

Children view Pamela Joye Prints of Themselves

As children searched for the candy and prize filled eggs, each family received a number and was entered into a raffle for larger prizes. With a captive audience, Salem Public Space Project took the opportunity to facilitate some surveys to gather more insights into how people feel about the park and the recently vacated lot across the street.

MJLP plan questionaire

Happily, most everyone wanted to participate! Filling out Survey to Improve Public Spaces

The surveys, while important, serve the even more significant task of introducing the subject of improving public space; conversations flowed easily on how the park used to be, the current assets, opportunities, and problems, and future possibilities. Many shared their contacts with Salem Public Space Project to join more activities, and a few volunteered their help.

Public Space Conversations between Designers and Residents

Public Space Conversations between Designers and Residents

The responses to the surveys clearly show commonalities in opinions on assets and needs in the park and general condition of the neighborhood public spaces.

Mary Jane Lee Park Questionnaire Responses - enlarge to view comments

Mary Jane Lee Park Questionnaire Responses – enlarge to view comments

Most everyone agreed on the need for more cleaning in the park. In fact, the City has yet to bring trash receptacles to the park, and so The Friends of Mary Jane Lee Park brought trash bags from home, and came to the park early in the morning to clean it up before hiding the eggs. Waste consciousness is on everyone’s mind. The children were instructed to keep the prizes, but all plastic eggs were requested back for re-use next year. The elusive question is: How can everyone be encouraged to participate to keep the neighborhood clean? 

Without trash receptacles, the Friends of Mary Jane Lee Park provided trash bags for the event

Without trash receptacles, the Friends of Mary Jane Lee Park provided trash bags 

People were also quick to observe the great community evident in the play of the children and the general feeling of community between everyone.

Children at Play

Children at Play

Teens at Play

Teens at Play

One former resident returned for the event from her new home in Swampscott as she still has family in the neighborhood and went to school with many of the parents present.

Egg hunt Participants

The most prevalent comment involved “making something for the kids,” whether that means more activities in the Mary Jane Lee Park, or a community center on the Palmer Street Lot. Some clear, common questions evolved:

What design will create and sustain a secure environment for the children in the park without putting up more fences?

What designs or actions will keep Mary Jane Lee Park clean?

How can people come together to take action and implement their common desires? 

Doreen and Egg Hunt Participants

Doreen Thomas and Egg Hunt Participants

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One thought on “A Day of Participation in Mary Jane Lee Park

  1. Pingback: CoLab Radio » Blog Archive » How to make friends with a park, part III: Summer begins

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