BRISTOL - Residents of the neighborhood surrounding Kern Park generally felt that it should remain a wooded parcel, according to Brian Wilson, superintendent of parks.
The future reuse of the park was first discussed in the November City Council meeting, where it was referred to the park board.
Wilson explained that the Board of Park Commissioners at their meeting on Dec. 20 was focused on letting the neighborhood surrounding Kern Park share its inputs on the future use of the 22-acre park.
“We had a fairly good-sized constituency from the Kern Park neighborhood attend the meeting,” he said. Generally, the constituents felt, “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it,” he added.
Located off Ivy Drive and Primrose Lane adjacent to Ivy Drive School, the park has trails that intersect throughout and lead to nearby neighborhoods. It does not have any man-made structures at the moment, but used to have tennis and basketball courts.
Residents provided the board with a historical background of the park. For example, Wilson said, the courts “were prone to vandalism and not used as intended” because the park is “landlocked” and not accessible for patrol.
There is also “an unofficial association of neighborhood members who have neighborhood cleanups” at the park, he said. The association “had visions for further maintenance and beautifications” and its “overarching mission was to maintain the park in a passive recreation and natural state,” he said.
The association felt “that it is a park in its current status and that not all park spaces need to be developed,” Wilson added.
The visions of the park board, association and neighborhood will be refined to align with one another and the park’s future use will be addressed at the January park board meeting, he said.
The park board referred the matter to the building and maintenance committee, which is a subcommittee of the board. The committee meeting has not yet been scheduled.
“We hope to come up with a well-thought-out plan for the park that encompasses all those things,” he said. “It may not be that that’s the appropriate place to have further development.”
Lorenzo Burgio can be reached at 860-973-5088 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.