Fundraising Efforts Underway for Crite Park

The Friends of Crite Park is getting closer to its goal of creating a brand new park at the inter-section of Columbus Ave., West Canton St., and Appleton St. in the South End.

Last week, the City Council approved a $250,000 Community Preservation Act (CPA) grant for the creation of the park, and a $10,000 fundraising challenge is set to begin on May 1.

The Sun spoke with Cheryl Dickinson, president of the Friends of Crite Park, to learn more about fundraising for the park.

“The committee decided to describe the $10,000 Challenge as a part of our overall goal of rais-ing $350,000 which is needed to finish the park,” Dickinson wrote in an email. Right now, the park has received about $650,000 in total between donations, grants, and awards, and the final cost of the park is $1,000,000.

Though the fundraising challenge does not officially begin until May 1, $1,250 has already been donated towards the $10,000, Dickinson said.

Mark Winogrond, an urban planner and husband to the late Gay Forbes, has agreed to match $10,000 in funds for the park.

“She really believed in the neighborhood and what it could become, and she originally bought her condo there because she believed in what the South End could become,” Winogrond told the Sun, speaking about Forbes. He said after hearing from the community about the Crite Park project, “I said I wanted to support it in her name to honor the neighborhood effort.”

Forbes began her career as a housing attorney in Boston, and then became the deputy direc-tor of the Boston Redevelopment Authority, now the Boston Planning and Development Agen-cy.

Through her neighborhood planning work, “she had a real sense of what was evolving in the neighborhoods and she was a Bostonian so deeply in her blood,” he said. “She was very much a supporter of historic preservation and of historic renovation, and it’s one of the other reasons I’m so supportive [of Crite Park].”

Dickinson said that the goal is to have the park completed by 2023, and work includes demolishing the existing site, which has lacked upkeep and become place for trash to gather,  and expanding it by about triple its current size. The park will feature different seating options, pergolas, and artwork by South End artist Allan Crite.

Dickinson also said that around the third week of May, which marks the halfway point of the Challenge campaign, the Friends of Crite Park will send out a fundraising letter to “interested friends and neighbors,” as well as distribute it to businesses and residents located within two blocks of the park site.

Signs will also be posed at the park site by May 1 about the campaign, as well as on the Crite Park Facebook page. These signs will be updated to reflect money raised as it comes in.

“I hope that many see what the committee sees and that they throw their support behind it however they can, with money or with labor or just by telling their friends about it,” Winogrond said. “It’s going to take a lot of people to get it across the finish line.”

More information about Crite Park can be found on the new website at critepark.org.

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