Quick work on Eagle Street to restore vandalized park in North Adams

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NORTH ADAMS — The Eagle Street community rallied this week after a newly improved pocket park was vandalized Tuesday evening.

The damage, which included the uprooting of perennial flowers and bushes, happened about a week after volunteers spent hours at the tiny park this summer.

The vandalism occurred between 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., according to Benjamin Lamb, who spearheads the NAMAzing Eagle Street Initiative to revitalize the iconic downtown street.

Desparados Owner Peter Oleskiewicz and his employees began to replant everything that could be salvaged. The incident was reported to police and the Eagle Street Initiative posted about the vandalism on its Facebook page.

The "outpouring was incredible," Lamb said.

"People have offered financial support to get new plants, they have offered plants directly, they've offered to volunteer their time and energy to do the labor of planting, and others have offered whatever support we need, whether that be video camera installation or other things to make the pocket park a great community asset," Lamb said.

For the weekly Eagle Street community coffee date Friday morning, volunteers are encouraging people to donate or contribute a plant.

"There will be a shovel on hand, and folks can make their own botanical mark on this true community project," Lamb said.

Improvements to the park are one item on a long list of improvements volunteers have received grants and other funds to implement this year.

A small, mobile parklet constructed by B&B Micro Manufacturing was dropped directly across the sidewalk from the existing park earlier this year.

"The confluence of the Park with the Parklet have also really made it a programmable space now, which is exciting to folks looking to have more outdoor activities in downtown that don't require the street to be closed," Lamb said.

From there, volunteers began making improvements to the pocket park itself.

The work began with taking out weeds, bushes and crabapple trees. Volunteers also removed old gravel and wood chips, leveled the ground, and expanded the depth of the pocket park by 25 feet.

A new corridor was installed by volunteers Alison and Rob Lyons using historic cobblestone that had previously been salvaged from city streets.

Plans include a fence in the rear of the park, two additional raised beds with weeping cherry trees, and placement of sod throughout the park. A visual art piece will be installed adjacent to Persnickety Toys.

Adam Shanks can be reached at ashanks@berkshireeagle.com, at @EagleAdamShanks on Twitter, or 413-629-4517.


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