The Conservancy’s first major landscape restoration project along the park’s Flagpole Hill area, adjacent to Dunnell Road, was completed in fall 2022 with the landscaping of the final planting bed across from the train station, at the gateway to the park. A bronze plaque is the capstone to the project. We are grateful to many stakeholders in achieving this, among them our partners at the Township of Maplewood DPW, Engineering, Administration and Township Committee, as well as the Maplewood Open Space Trust Fund, the Historic Preservation Commission, our members and volunteers.
First conceived in summer 2017, the series of beautifully landscaped beds is based on original plans for the park by the renowned architectural firm of the Olmsted Brothers. The plan restores the picturesque quality to this area of the park by introducing shrubs and trees with a variety of texture and size, often those originally intended for the area, or modifications more suitable to today’s climate and conditions. It provides a buffer to the roadway, increasing the park goer’s experience. Among the trees are grey birch, redbuds, flowering dogwood and Eastern white pine.
The plan, which was funded by the Maplewood Open Space Trust Fund, was rolled out in four phases, and was designed by Landscape Consultant Jennifer C. Ryan as part of MMPC’s internship program. Jennifer’s charge, which she accomplished with stellar results, was to base the plan on original designs, but adapt those to accommodate contemporary uses in the park and current climate conditions, with an eye toward seasonal interest and current best practices.
Phases 1, 2, and 3 of the project was installed by Birch Hill Landscaping, and Phase 4, which comprises two landscaped beds along the footpath, was done in-house by Jennifer, with current MMPC summer interns Jeremy Johnson and Nolan Riche, with help from MMPC board members and the Maplewood Department of Public Works.
We hope this project is just the first of many improvements to our beloved historic park. Stay tuned for plans for a celebration!