Renderings of what the new Gratigny Plateau Park could look like were released Thursday, amid growing excitement and concern for the project.
Eleven-year-old Joseph Lamothe said he would love to trade his toy basketball for the real thing and play on a court. He also said he would like to see a playground for his younger sister, Rebecca.
"When she heard there would be a park here, she was so happy," Joseph said. "She was jumping and jumping and jumping. She said 'I can't wait! I can't wait! I can't wait!"
But some adults who live nearby said they are worried about the noise generated by children at play and wondered if the neighborhood was safe enough to support a park. Community leaders working with Local 10 on the park project heard from neighbors last week, and the opinions were mixed.
"Later in the evening there's heavy traffic here back and forth," Marjorie Smith, who lives next door to the park, said.
"There's drug dealing and gunfire in my neighborhood," said Sean Smith.
Others were just as excited as Joseph Lamothe, and overall, the consensus was a desire to transform a vacant lot into a safe spot for families.
"I'd love to see grass here," one woman said.
"I want to see my grandkids also have the same opportunity as I did, to play outside instead of being inside," another man said.
"I wish I had it when I was growing up," Smith said.
Landscape architect Kona Gray came up with three ideas based on ideas and suggestions from neighbors.
"We've heard it before, many neighborhoods transform their neighborhoods by taking back their open spaces," Gray said. "The most important thing about what we do is listening first, once we understand what people need then we can design."
Now, the exciting next step in the park project will allow the community to get a chance to see their ideas transformed into artwork, as Gray's first renderings showcase both promise and possibility.