CB|A Landscape ArchitectsStarting this fall, Somerville's rollerbladers and skateboarders will be able to practice in a park, saving, perhaps, the railings at the high school.
On July 13 Somerville officially broke ground on the Morse-Kelley Playground reconstruction. Actual construction was scheduled to start July 18.
"It's really huge," said Adam Rich of the community group Save Our Somerville. "SOS worked for several years to try to get a sanctioned place for youth to skate." At Morse-Kelley, he said, "the neighborhood was amenable."
The park, at Craigie and Summer streets, has skate features but isn't only for skaters, Rich said. It's "a neighborhood park ... with a lot of things going on."
According to the drawing by Somerville-based CB|A Landscape Architects, the new-and-improved Morse-Kelley Playground will have courts for four square, paddle tennis, and basketball, with pavement stripes for stickball and a tennis backboard and a rock-climbing wall. Skaters will have specialized benches, railings, and steps. A corner of the park will have a community garden with on-site composters. There will also be a toddler play structure separated from the skating space by a 6-foot-high fence.
The city is putting out requests to find an artist to expand a small mural celebrating the neighborhood youth, Rich said. He praised the "civic pride" embodied in the project: "It feels great to be in a community where we see a lot of that reflected."
Funds to renovate the 0.45-acre park come from a federal Community Development Block Grant, according to the city's 2008-2013 open space and recreation plans.
Rich pointed out that younger children have additional, targeted play space at Dickerman Playground down the block. Both parks will be closed for the summer and fall, city director of parks and open space Arn Franzen said in a statement. Schematics for the redesigns are available at somervillema.gov.
With a major SOS goal completed, Rich said the group is "kind of at the drawing board" discussing the next set of priorities. However, the organization will remain focused on quality of life, he said, improving affordability, jobs, and youth opportunities and "enabling people to chose to stay in this community."