Bliss and Laurel Parks Visioning Plan
Seeking a Resident Advisor for the Cooley Brook Core Team!
Submit your application via the following link: Resident Advisor for Cooley Brook Core Team Application
The Town has recently re-engaged the Conway School to follow up on their original report "Two Visions for Bliss and Laurel Park" (2020) and the results of the H&H study by storyboarding / translating the H&H study's technical information regarding the brook's condition and potential interventions into visual representations that the public can understand and provide input on. The Conway School's project will begin in April 2023 and run through June 2023.
We are soliciting applications for a resident seat on the Core Team of Town staff/officials and stakeholders to guide the upcoming Conway School project. Participation will entail an average of two meetings a month for three months to guide and inform the students' project. These meetings will occur during Town office hours (between 8:30-4:30) and may be in person or virtual. The Core Team will provide comments on the Conway School team's mid-term and final designs. Residents do not need any technical expertise to apply.
If you are interested in volunteering your time as a resident advisor on the Cooley Brook Core Team, please complete and submit the application below. Applicants will be interviewed by the Select Board, which will also select the successful candidate. Applications are due March 10, 2023 and candidates should expect to be interviewed at the March 20 Select Board meeting.
Welcome to Bliss and Laurel Parks
On any given day these 81 acres of Bliss and Laurel Parks provide Longmeadow residents with a place for respite and a place for recreation. During this time of social distancing these open spaces have become even more important to our mental and physical well-being. Join in the plan to restore these park spaces.
A Vision for the Parks
In spring 2020, the Town hired the Conway School of Landscape Design to develop a conceptual design for the refurbishment of Bliss and Laurel parks. Informed by public conversation, a virtual park planning charrette, and a survey, the Conway School graduate students developed two conceptual visions to improve recreational and ecological functioning in the two parks. "Two Visions for for Bliss and Laurel Parks" provides two conceptual roadmaps for park improvements over the next several years -- one vision prioritizes the original Olmstead Brothers formal park design, and the other prioritizes enhancing the ecological value of Cooley Brook and the wooded park areas and cultivating a more naturalistic aesthetic. These important recommendations can be implemented through state, federal and CPA grant funding.
View the 2020 "Two Visions for Bliss and Laurel Parks" by clicking the document image below.
Bliss and Laurel Parks Public Meetings
To support the development of the "Two Visions..." document, the Conway School team hosted two public meetings, which were recorded and can be viewed here.
A Story of Stewardship
- 1895 - initial 9.8 acre parcel is transferred to the Town for public water supply
- 1934 - the 80 acre watershed district becomes parkland by state legislative resolve and Town Meeting vote.
- 1934 - Laurel Street extension divides the watershed into Bliss and Laurel Parks
- 1934 - 1935 - Olmsted Brothers commissioned to design a plan for the parklands ~ Works Progress Administration (WPA) workers commence execution of the design in Laurel Park
- 2016 - Town attempts to site Adult Center in Bliss Park ~ project defeated by “friend” group effort to preserve the intended parkland use of these lands
- 2017 - Town of Longmeadow vote confirms Bliss and Laurel Parks legal protection under Article 97 of the MA Constitution
- 2017, 2018 - CPA grants provide park beautification, improved entry from Bliss Road, protective fencing, benches, picnic tables and tree planting
- 2019 (March) - all deeds, with the exception of the 1895 parcel, still following, are properly documented, parks are legally protected in perpetuity under Article 97
- 2019 - CPA grant approved for Master Landscape Plan Development
- 2020 - Two Visions for Bliss and Laurel Parks completed
- 2022 - The Connecticut River Conservancy funds a Conceptual Dam Removal Construction Cost Estimate Memo regarding the abandoned waterworks infrastructure in the brook corridor; Mass DER awards Preliminary Dam Removal Design grant funding to further develop plans for removing the abandoned waterworks infrastructure. The Town decides to take a whole watershed approach and study the stream as a whole instead of just the waterworks debris. A CPA grant funds a hydrologic and hydraulic (H&H) study of Cooley Brook to better understand the whole watershed.
- 2023 - The Town hires another Conway School of Landscape Design class to storyboard the potential solutions identified in the H&H study and reconcile existing park uses with ideas for ecological enhancement. @(Model.BulletStyle == CivicPlus.Entities.Modules.Layout.Enums.BulletStyle.Decimal ? "ol" : "ul")>