Dypski Park is a 2.5-acre “pocket park” at 1225 S. Ellwood Ave. across Boston St. from the Canton Waterfront Park on the north side of the Du Burns Arena.
The site, which contains a wading pool and playground equipment, is in need of a restoration. After community efforts, pressure, and fundraising, Dypski Park’s renovation process has begun.
Last week, the Department of Recreation and Parks presented a list of proposals for Dypski’s future and asked for community feedback on their plans.
They presented three separate options, each highlighting different design focuses and uses of space. These models were created based on what residents wanted to see the park become, said Kate Brower, the Landscape Design and Urban Planner for Rec and Parks.
Calling Dypski a “local neighborhood park”, Brower said that the new park should be residentially-focused. Unlike Canton Waterfront Park, it won’t be for the entire city, it is for the families living nearby, therefore, their feedback was and will be critical to the design process.
Brower said that residents overwhelmingly wanted a park that provided safe, year-round play for children of all ages.
“The main goal of this design is to accommodate all age groups and all of the concept designs include these basic features because we heard from you that these were all important,” she said.
All the plans included the following: additional park entrances at S. Ellwood Ave. and the Du Burns parking lot, more seating, a perimeter fence, a bicycle rack, at least one type of play equipment, shade structures, and a bike/walk loop.
Option A for the park would have a big focus on a “water feature.” The water feature would be the centerpiece of the new park, being both an interactive and decorative addition.
“There are a variety of options for the water feature. We want to get a flavor of what you guys like and don’t like,” said Paul Taylor, the Chief of Capital Development. A mini-waterfall or shallow water channel were some examples presented.
The water feature will be expensive, he said, and this money could be funneled into more playground equipment instead if that is what residents preferred.
In the initial planning stages, there were plans to put in a splash pad at Dypski. Since then, this has been rejected and talks have shifted to putting the splash pad at Canton Waterfront Park instead.
Option A would also include an adult fitness area for parents to work out as they watch their child play, large sail-like canopies to increase shade, and larger, safer entryways into the park which would result in a loss of parking.
Option B differed in that it concentrated more on “active play”, meaning more playground equipment that could be designed around a theme. For example, there would be one large play feature in the center of the park, along with two separate play areas, one for children ages 2-5, and the other for ages 5-12. The focus is on maximizing the space and options for play. Option B also has a slightly larger bike loop and less seating than Option A.
Option C would be less crowded, leaving room for “flexible use space.” Young said this versatile lawn-like area could be used by the community for anything from concerts, to ping-pong tables, to picnics. The plan also includes an expansion to the pavilion building to create more space for tables and a natural gateway to the park.
Of the three plans, Option C would have the largest bike loop which will be approximately 10 ft. wide.
“It’s not so much about these particular designs, it’s about the features and options within the design. You can take the pieces of these. You don’t have to accept the whole plan,” said Brower.
Opinions on the water feature were mostly negative, with residents saying that it would take up too much space, require too much maintenance, and wouldn’t be able to be used year-round.
The adult fitness area was also met with lukewarm responses.
“It’s enough work for me to run after my child,” said one resident.
Residents did like the idea of a flexible use area, as presented in Option C, where their children could run around freely. Additions like more seating, shading, and protective fences were all supported.
Doug Kaufman, the president of the Canton Community Association, said that the association has been pushing for Dypski’s rebirth for years.
“One of the great things about the changing nature of Canton is the number of kids, the number of strollers, the number of families that are staying here,” he said. “Over the past 4 or 5 years, the CCA has tried to take an active role in getting that park fixed and it’s been a pretty difficult job quite frankly.”
Kaufman said that as families grow, they need the motivation to stay in the Southeast. Utilizing Dypski Park will help end the idea that city-living is only for adults, he said.
“This is going to be a real advantage for Canton going forward.”
Brower said that the final concept for Dypski Park will be completed by June. Following this, Rec and Parks will be partnering with the CCA to host similar meetings and focus groups throughout the district for community opinions on the final plan. Park plans will be finalized in the fall and construction is expected to begin in the summer of 2017.
By Gianna DeCarlo