Ribbon Cutting for AARP Grant-funded Improvements at Fiske Avenue

Join in celebrating the beautiful pollinator gardens and site improvements at Fiske Avenue.

GREENFIELD – Mayor Roxann Wedegartner invites the community to join in celebrating the beautiful pollinator gardens and site improvements at Fiske Avenue that were made possible with a $23,000 AARP Community Challenge Grant and the inspiring dedication of many community volunteers. A ribbon cutting will be held rain or shine on Wednesday, September 22nd at 11:30 am.

Recent improvements to the Fiske Avenue parking lot include the creation of a pollinator garden at the southern end of the parking lot, with another along the plantings on top of the new wall installed last fall. At the Main Street end of the site, two new benches were installed on Friday, September 17, along with a chess table and bike repair station, and in addition, the Celtic bee was also reinstalled to join the new amenities for the community to enjoy.

This project is the result of collaboration across several City Departments including DPW, Recreation, Community and Economic Development, Energy and Sustainability, and community volunteers. The catalyst for this project was the replacement of the deteriorating wall at the site in October 2020 and a schematic plan by the Conway School of Landscape Design to use as a jumping-off point to redesign the site. An AARP grant was awarded to the City to begin the first phase of the project to install a native species garden at the southern end of the site and add recreation amenities at the Main Street end. Wednesday’s ribbon cutting will be to celebrate this transformed space and to acknowledge all the hard work to make it possible.

In spring 2022, the parking area will be shifted to Miles Street and a green space will take the place of the extra asphalt. This final phase of the project is possible through a $200,000 Shared Streets Mass DOT grant secured by the Department of Community and Economic Development and will further enhance this pocket park.

“It is amazing that less than a year ago, the City replaced a failing retaining wall in a parking lot that has turned into an additional $223,000 in grant funding to not only make the space more inviting, but also help reduce storm water overflow from large rain events,” Mayor Roxann Wedegartner stated. “I am so appreciative of all the dedication and collaboration on the part of volunteers and municipal employees to bring this to fruition. All of this additional improvement is not costing the City any more money than the original wall replacement project, and will have a lasting positive effect. I am proud we are able to celebrate this very important first phase of improvements to Fiske Avenue and to acknowledge all those who made this possible, especially AARP.”
The garden became a reality thanks to the efforts of a group of enthusiastic volunteers dedicated to planting gardens in and around downtown Greenfield headed up by Wisty Rorabacher and Dorothea Sotiros. With assistance by the DPW, this group worked tirelessly to create a flourishing native species garden that will continue to thrive each growing season. Tom Sullivan took the lead on planting the top of the wall with pollinator and edible plants, and the following people generously gave their time: Jeri and Will Case, Tom and Janina Thayer, Ardi and Marilee Keim, Elizabeth Erickson, Robin Doran, Sadie Miller, and Carol and Peter Letson.

If you have any questions about this project, please contact or Carole Collins at 413-772-1412 or carole.collins@greenfield-ma.gov or the Office of the Mayor at 413-772-1560 or mayor@greenfield-ma.gov

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