Thursday, April 30, 2009

Hamilton Park Festival

With the closing of Hamilton Park for renovations the HPNA is sad to announce that the 2009 Hamilton Park Festival (originally scheduled for June 20th) has been postponed until the renovations are complete (Oct/Nov 2009). We know the HPNA's Parkfest has been a tradition for many residents throughout the city however we weren't able to locate a suitable alternative location for this year's event. Rather than our usual Parkfest, the HPNA will have a Parkfest / Hamilton Park renovation celebration when the park reopens this fall.

We hope to see you this fall and hope that you'll still plan to join us for future summer festivals.

The Hamilton Park Farmer's Market will proceed as scheduled. It will be located in the paved walking area on Pavonia Avenue between McWilliams Place & Erie Street (directly across the street from Hamilton Park in front of Hamilton Square).

Olu Howard
HPNA President

Monday, April 20, 2009

Hamilton Park Renovation Update

Hi All,
As I mentioned in my note last Wednesday on the HPNA's email list, the HPNA has been working with the city regarding the closing of Hamilton Park and the park renovation in general. This has been a long hard process to get the renovation underway and we're glad to see it finally come to fruition. On Friday, HPNA board members met with the city's Division of Architecture to reaffirm our lines of communication and to address the concerns raised by some of the residents of the area. The meeting went very well and the city has been very responsive to our needs. They also took the time to provide additional details and documentation around the choices made regarding construction. Attached at the bottom of the email is the letter the city is sending to all the area schools, assisted living facilities, and large condo buildings to notify them of the closure.

In addition to the letter I have added following details from our meeting (which should answer most of the questions posed over the past few days).

Glenn Wrigley, the City's Chief Architect, has apologized for the unannounced closure of Hamilton Park and agreed to do the following to insure the public is notified of the closure of the park (which will occur on April 30, 2009).
  • COMPLETED: The city will send a notification letter to schools, assisted living facilities, large condo buildings, and impacted neighborhood organizations (see attached PDF)
  • COMPLETED: The city will provide a detailed site plan so everyone can see and understand the changes to the park. You can download this site plan from The plans are rather large so this may take some time to download.
  • PENDING: The city will post signs in and around Hamilton Park notifying the public of the closure.
  • The Division of Architecture has committed to arranging a meeting between HPNA representatives and the General Contractor, Green Construction, and will ensure that open lines of communications remain open between the community and the construction team.
  • The Division of Architecture will invite the HPNA to send a representative to the construction progress meetings at least once a quarter (more often if it's warranted/requested). In addition the city will send a copy of the construction meeting minutes to the HPNA after every checkpoint meeting (not just the ones the HPNA attends).
  • Finally Glenn Wrigley, the Chief Architect, and Brian Weller, the Project Manager for the HP renovation, will attend a HPNA general meeting along with Green Construction to bring everyone up to speed on the project's progress and answer any outstanding questions. This is tentatively scheduled for June (the May HPNA meeting is reserved for the Ward E Candidate debate).
Alternate Park Spaces:
The Hamilton Park neighborhood already has a second park less than three blocks from Hamilton Park called Enos Jones Park (located at Brunswick & Eighth Street). Enos Jones features:
  • A playground
  • A Water-spray ground
  • A baseball field
  • A passive use grassy back area for walking dogs, etc.

In addition to our already existing alternate park, Paul Silverman of Exeter Property (developers of Hamilton Square) has graciously offered to allow the city to use now the vacant lot between the two buildings on McWilliams Place as an alternate park space. As mentioned in the Chief Architect's letter, the City has accepted his offer and is working closely with both Exeter Property and Goldman Sachs to build a temporary park which will have the following features:
  • Will be a total of about 14,000 sq. ft directly across from Hamilton Park.
  • Will be fenced in and feature both passive (grassy) recreational space and a playground.
  • Will be open from Dawn to Dusk (it will be locked after dark).
  • Will be dog free.
It should open by May 15, 2009 and will remain open to the public until the renovation is complete.

A lot of concern has been raised over the trees marked with X's. The City has assured us that every effort will be made to save every tree possible and that trees are only marked to come down where absolutely necessary. The trees that are marked fall into the following categories:
  • The tree has to be removed to allow for the installation of rain underground retention basins. These retention basins are essential to prevent the renovated park from overflowing the surrounding sewer systems. Without them homes within a few blocks of the park would flood when it rains
  • The tree is dead / near death. These trees pose a hazard to the general public. If they are left up to fall on their own, there is a very real chance that some will be hurt or killed.
  • The tree is surrounded by asphalt. This last category includes the tree closest to the Hamilton Park gazebo. The General Contractor marked it for potential removal because once the asphalt is removed, the roots will be exposed and if they are unable to stabilize the tree quickly it will fall on its own. The City has stated they will make every effort to save it however it only has about a 50/50 chance of being salvaged.
  • There is one 30" sycamore that was marked a little further North of the gazebo. That is not scheduled for removal. It was marked only because the instructions on the drawings are to remove the cast iron grate around the base of the tree. The tree is being strangled by the grate (which should have been removed years ago). Its marked because removing the grate may damage the tree. Again the City has said they will do what they can to save that tree.
  • Finally, there is also a 12" cherry tree along the pathway from the Ninth Street entrance to the Gazebo that was scheduled for removal. The contractor will attempt to work around it thereby saving that tree as well.
One final note, while it may not be apparent from the previously posted documents, the city is planting additional trees as well. They have provided the HPNA with the landscaping plan which shows the trees being preserved (they look like a cloud) the new trees being put in (they look like circles) and the retention basins being installed to prevent flooding. The landscaping plans can be downloaded at Again this PDF file is rather large so it may take some time to download.

Unfortunately not much could be done here. The park renovation would cost considerably more if it were completed in sections and it would take years rather than months. Additionally, the construction would present a constant safety risk to those people using the park while it went on. The bid contract calls for the park to be completed in 1 year or less and the contractor's internal estimates are that it will be completed in six months.

For any remaining pre-construction questions the HPNA has arranged a public meeting at the Hamilton Park Gazebo on 10:00 AM this Saturday April 25th. Councilman Fulop will answer any outstanding questions regarding the renovation.

Olu Howard
HPNA President

Monday, April 13, 2009

Hamilton Park Renovation Update

The Final Plans are available for viewing:


Construction is about to get underway! Thanks to Jen Greely and everyone else that helped to make this happen.