The new resiliency park at Seventh and Jackson streets is now open to the public after Mayor Ravi Bhalla, former Mayor Dawn Zimmer, elected officials, and members of the public celebrated the grand opening on Saturday, June 29.
The new park features playground equipment, one acre of open lawn space, a new gym, seating area, and infrastructure to capture more than 450,000 gallons of rainwater to reduce flooding.
“The new resiliency park at 7th and Jackson is a model for the state in providing both open space amenities and also below-ground infrastructure to help mitigate rainfall flooding,” said Mayor Bhalla. “Residents, visitors, and local businesses will now have two acres of much-needed park space to relax, take their kids to the park, and enjoy the outdoors. I thank the many stakeholders who have played a large role in making this project a reality, especially former Mayor Dawn Zimmer, Larry Bijou, and the Council sub-committee.”
“The 7th & Jackson Resiliency Park project will bring tremendous co-benefits for our community, including green infrastructure to address flooding risks, a wonderful new park for everyone, and also support the local artists and businesses in the Monroe Center,” said former Mayor Zimmer. “I am extremely proud of our efforts to get this planned and then built through a collaborative process starting with my Administration and followed through by Mayor Bhalla and his Administration in partnership with the property owner, Larry Bijou. Congratulations to Mayor Bhalla and thank you to everyone who was involved in getting this project completed.”
“What an amazing day to celebrate,” said Councilman Michael Russo. “To think, we the community of the 3rd Ward fought from the potential relocation of the Municipal works garage to this site, to now seeing what we have accomplished by stopping that relocation and negotiating this beautiful park, gymnasium, and playground! So many thanks to the neighbors of our community, the members of the subcommittee, Councilman Doyle, and former Councilmen Mello and Occhipinti, former Mayor Zimmer, and of course our current mayor, Ravi Bhalla, who has made it a priority to see this project through.”
“We take pride in creating great neighborhoods, not just buildings, so we are thrilled to celebrate the opening of the resiliency park, playground, and public gymnasium as part of our award-winning 7 Seventy House project,” said Bijou Properties Managing Partner Larry Bijou. “I congratulate and thank Mayor Bhalla, former Mayor Zimmer, the City Council, staff, and everyone whose partnership was critical to making this project a success.”
The second phase will include the buildout of the one-acre public plaza, which will feature step seating with a tilted lawn panel for passive use, a play sculpture, and a plaza area designed to accommodate vendors and seasonal markets.
The park will also include a shade structure, which will be transferred from the Northwest Popup Park when construction begins on the permanent park.
According to a press release from the city, Mayor Bhalla and the city are committed to acquiring, building out, and upgrading more than nine acres of open space and parks, including the five-acre Northwest Park, one-acre Southwest Park expansion at Block 10, the new 7th and Jackson Park, and the recently renovated Madison Street Park.