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City ‘pocket park’ set to be unveiled
Fayette Square ribbon-cutting, festival on tap
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Martinsville Public Works crew members Terry Agee (from left), Doug Huston, Ronnie Gammons and Fred Spencer install one of the picnic tables at Fayette Square, a new pocket park on the corners of Moss, Main and Fayette streets in uptown Martinsville. A ribbon cutting coordinated by the city and New College Institute interns will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday to officially open the space. (Contributed photo)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer

People in uptown Martinsville have two new outdoor places to relax.

A ribbon-cutting will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday for Fayette Square, a so-called “pocket park” at the corner of Fayette, Moss and Main streets.

A festival featuring food, games and music will be held at the square from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday. Admission is free.

The park has a concrete surface with 15 wooden planters containing shrubs, plus five round, metal picnic tables. A mural is to be unveiled Thursday.

A similar park, with grass and brick surfaces and six metal benches, has been established a short distance away on Fayette Street. A grand opening event for that park has not yet been scheduled, according to city officials.

Costs to create the parks are being covered by a $691,325 Community Development Block Grant awarded for ongoing improvements to the central business district, according to Martinsville Community Planner Susan McCulloch.

She did not know how much of that money was put toward the parks.

The site where Fayette Square was created is owned by J &R Management, McCulloch said. If the firm ever sells the property, the park can be moved.

“It’s meant to be portable,” McCulloch said. “Everything can be taken elsewhere” if necessary.

About 35 students in a summer internship program sponsored by the New College Institute (NCI) were involved in creating Fayette Square, along with city public works department crews and Gateway Streetscape Foundation.

Each year, interns are required to perform some type of volunteer service, said Katie Croft, NCI’s coordinator of experiential learning.

Interns’ work toward developing Fayette Square enabled them “to become passionately connected with a place in the community” so they will feel like “they have invested” in the community, Croft said.

That should make them want to return to the park in the future with their families and friends, she said.

The 16-foot by 8-foot mural will depict participation in the June German Ball, a popular annual community event over the years, Croft said.

It was painted by three NCI interns in their spare time under the guidance of local artists, she said.

The Fayette Square ribbon-cutting and festival were scheduled ahead of any festivities pertaining to the opening of the other pocket park so the interns could participate in celebrating their accomplishments, McCulloch said.

 

 
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