Friday, August 22, 2008

Cuddy Family Park finally to open this weekend


Well after who knows how many years, Midtown's Cuddy Family Park is finally set to have its opening celebration this Saturday. It's kinda funny as I remember way back in 2001 or so when Channel 2 sent out Jason Moore to cover what was suppose to be the quickest construction of a city park ever. With the shovel ceremonies in the background, Moore was reporting on how a large group of volunteer workers were to work around the clock and into the night so that the park can be open for the public 24 hours later. Perhaps the army of volunteers realized you're going to need more than a volunteer effort to create a sizable lake, eh? Anyways after many years of sitting there and even showing signs of neglect, the Cuddy Family Park is finally set to have its opening ceremonies this Saturday, August the 23rd. Just like any midtown family park, the ceremonies will of course include some sort of children's parade, remote control boat races, and food. Afterall, there's parks, and then there's family parks (you gotta watch for that).

Seriously though, I really am glad to see this park finally be complete. With the Municipality developing a master plan to urbanize Midtown, I suspect this park will act as a focal point for which its surroundings will be developed more responsibly. With large scale office buildings, and the city library already in its immediate surrounding, this park is just asking for a pedestrian friendly cityscape so it can become easily accessible more so than it can be now. Once that happens, I could see Cuddy Family Park becoming the park for Anchorage, trumping Town Square in Downtown in terms of foot traffic. After all, while Downtown is filled with gift shops and hotels, it's Midtown that has, for us locals, become the new downtown. With retail, cinemas, and non-touristy restaurants a-plenty, hardly any of us locals find ourselves spending time running errands in Downtown. Midtown on the other hand is in heavy need of some sort of public space.

To wrap it all up, I basically would like to see some major traffic calming on C Street, wider sidewalks, benches, lights, and sizable mixed-use buildings bordering the park.

CORRECTION: I guess I should have looked more into the history of the park before mocking the park's lack of construction progress through the years. Apparently the park did in fact open in 2001 and was only recently closed to create the pond and build the speed skating oval. Even more interestingly, the Muni wanted this parcel of land to be a park since 1983! Umm.. my bad.

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