The Portsmouth Beautification Society and Main Street Portsmouth in Bloom are in the middle of upgrades to Tracy Park that are resulting in new garden beds being installed for the first time in years.
The beds are corner entryways into the park and representative from both organizations, Sue Burke, says that the improvements add a very visual investment to curb appeal of the park.
“The Beautification Society paid for the southeast side’s project, where we had flower beds built and planted with perennials and shrubs,” Burke said. “It started when he [Kevin Doyle] cleaned up the sidewalk and corner to see what it used to look like. The path used to be very nice, so we wanted to spark the development of bringing it back. The entry beds are a good indication of what the park could look like with a little love.”
Burke says that the groups, along with other partners, are currently exploring further improvements that would add walking paths to the park that start at the entryway gardens and lead to the heart of the park.
Main Street is currently working with the OHIZ Pilot Project through CAO to find funding opportunities to bring back the pathways. They are in the process of farming estimates from various contractors now.
The group also planted boxwoods at the forefront of the stage, which had been bare for some time according to Burke.
“We planted eight boxwoods there and we think they’ll add a nicer view when people gather to use the stage,” Burke explained. “We’ve had plants lining the entire stage in the past, but the years haven’t been kind to them. We’re hoping that this side of the stage can sustain the plants, because it would be a nice pop of green when people come to watch the Portsmouth Wind Symphony and other groups.”
After the eastern bed was established, local entrepreneur and insurance agent Sean Boldman, of American Family Insurance and Trinity Business Group, reached out to Burke and agreed to pay for the same project to be installed on the southwestern corner.
“Sean has always been good about supporting us and our downtown developments, from benches to parks, he usually comes ready to support our mission,” Burke said.
The second garden will be installed by Doyle once again, but the planting will be organized by Main Street Portsmouth.
“We really wanted to accomplish this project, because, when we competed in America in Bloom last year, they said that we had a lot of potential in Tracy Park and we needed to prioritize it,” Burke said. “We are trying to make improvements where they’ve suggested so it shows when we compete again this year. This was an easy win for us, and it makes the park look so much more inviting.”
Burke said that one major way to improve the park is to get the remaining flower beds sponsored by groups with the know-how to ensure they’re vibrant and healthy and complimentary to the park.
Currently, beds are maintained by groups like Main Street Portsmouth, Portsmouth Realtors Association, Portsmouth Garden Club, Kiwanis, and more.
To assist in any of the downtown park and beautification efforts, call Main Street Portsmouth at 740.464.0203 and ask to leave a message for Sue Burke.
Reach Joseph Pratt at (740) 353-3101, by email at [email protected], © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved