Franklin Street Park
The Acre is a neighborhood in Lowell, MA that has seen its share and more of the typical urban ills that plague under-served communities around the Commonwealth, particularly when it comes to the lack of open/green space for recreation and community gathering. The Greater Lowell chapter of Habitat for Humanity came to LEMON BROOKE with an idea to build a park, the first of its kind for the organization, in this neighborhood, where several new Habitat-built homes had already been constructed. The park has since become a magnet for people of all ages and abilities and created an oasis for neighbors to meet, play and even garden.
The challenges were many. The site is underpinned by shallow ledge, which was carefully mapped out, so planting could be done in a way to provide shade and maximize the sense of a green space in the growing season. With so little open space in the neighborhood, the program demands were high, making flexibility and overlapping use zones a necessity. Being a Habitat project, the budget was very low and the construction crews were mostly volunteer, which meant keeping construction details simple and practical. It also meant that the design was conceived to get the most from every ounce of energy and space as possible.
The new park space has musical instruments, a universally accessible swing, a shade structure with seating, as well as an open area with benches for independent play and community gathering. A collection of protected raised beds and utility shed make it possible for neighbors to grow their own food/flowers and herbs. Fencing and lighting are upgraded to provide a safe environment for all to enjoy the park for years to come.
DEVELOPER: HABITAT FOR HUMANITY, GREATER LOWELL
BUILDER: HABITAT VOLUNTEERS