A New London park will be closed for much of next year as the Department of Public Works does a number of projects designed to rejuvenate the site.
The department recently completed a design phase for improvements at Calkins Park. The $750,000 project will be funded under a recent bond issue and the department plans to put it out to bid by mid-January, with the City Council taking a final vote on approval of the contract.
“I believe we’ve come up with a great design that can be a benefit to the city and the neighborhood,” said Bill Camosci, a Public Works consultant.
Under the design, the number of soccer fields at the park will increase from three to four and a high school regulation softball field will be established with two portable bleachers. Other improvements will include the planting of shade trees and wildflowers, exterior and interior renovations to a bathroom facility near the parking lot, exterior renovations to a building on Riverview Ave., and a new stairway.
The changes have been approved by the Parks and Recreation Commission and the Inland Wetlands and Conservation Commission. Elena Pascarella, a landscape architect with Landscape Elements, said the project will involve reducing the size of wetlands at the site to improve visibility and safety. She said the improvements to a .45-mile five foot wide walkway will also allow greater handicapped access.
“We’d like to encourage more people of all physical abilites to use that walkway,” she said.
Plans call for the playing areas at the park to be unusable while work proceeds during 2013, with a reopening to take place in the spring of 2014 in time for the summer soccer season.