DANBURY, Conn. -- When shoppers arrive at the kickoff of the summer Farmers Market in Danbury on Friday morning, they will see a newly refurbished Kennedy Park.
"We wanted to come down and celebrate the opening of the park and remember the contributions of President Kennedy to our great nation," Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton said in greeting a small contingent of city workers and the public at a ribbon-cutting Thursday morning.
The park, previously a tract of mostly trampled grass and worn paths, has undergone a $275,000 transformation, work paid for through city bonds, Boughton said.
"We wanted a gateway area to Main Street that is clean, that is neat," he said. "We hope the residents of the city enjoy the park and respect the work of the city employees and the contributions of the city's taxpayers."
The triangular-shaped urban spot is completely surrounded by Main Street, Kennedy Avenue and Elm Street near the pulse point for city and out-of-town buses. Many pedestrians cut through the area, and the park is also frequented by day laborers, especially on weekday mornings.
The park hosts the summer Farmers Market, and the renovations were planned specifically for that use. The eastern end of the park is paved over and includes water and electricity hookups as well as landscaping designed to enclose the area. A black fence resembling the one at Elmwood Park, another urban green spot, encloses the area, protects the landscaping and guides pedestrian safely traffic to crosswalks.
The concrete is designed to resemble brick, with a red coloring and a design stamped into it. One person in attendance called the designer "an artist" and pointed to a giant sunburst logo in the center with the park's name and location engraved in it.
Antonio Iadarola, Danbury's director of public works, also spoke, thanking the city workers who designed and implemented the improvements.
"This was a challenging project," Iadarola said. "We had to design a park that would protect pedestrians while allowing great access to the pulse point and to the park."
The site also offered a unique challenge because of the undergone utilities in the area as well as a culvert and drainage pipes for the Still River through the downtown area, he said.
"It was all very, very complicated," Iadarola said.
A second ceremony will be held at 11:30 a.m. Friday as the Farmers Market returns to Danbury for the fifth summer at this spot.
The Farmers Market will run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays through Oct. 1, except for July 4.
At the event Thursday, Boughton also announced that the sale to a developer of the empty Amphenol property across the street from the park will close on Aug. 12. The city also plans to build a vest pocket park near the police station to honor Danbury officers who died in the line of duty, he said.