Park planned for empty lot

A Fairfield man plans to install a park in downtown Fairfield to honor his late wife.

Alex Stanley was married to his wife Petra for 29 years until she died of cancer in 2016. Stanley wanted to commemorate her, and saw an opportunity to do so through a vacant lot near the square.

The lot is on the southwest corner of North Main and West Briggs, where the Tribune Building once stood. The building was torn down in July 2014 after it was found to be structurally unsound, and has been an empty slab ever since. Cars frequently park on the slab, although the city will deploy barricades in the near future to stop them from doing so.

Last June, the council learned an anonymous donor wished to purchase the empty lot from its owner, Ross Walker, and donate it to the city, provided the city use it as a park. The council approved the idea unanimously.

At Monday?s city council meeting, the council saw concept drawings of the park and heard from its designer, Dennis Reynolds, of Reynolds Urban Design.

The park, known as ?Petra?s Place,? will include:

? Raised planter boxes with perennial flowers and ornamental grasses around the perimeter of the slab

? Two wheelchair-accessible entrances between the planter boxes, one on the east and one on the north

? A harvest table that can seat 20 people

? A pergola in the center to serve as the main piece of art

? Removal of gravel from the west edge of slab to be replaced with lawn and shade trees

? Movable tables and chairs (Reynolds said the furniture will be heavy enough to make theft unlikely)

? A railing for ballet as a tribute to Petra?s interest in it

Reynolds said the space could be used for friends to gather for an outdoor meal, or host a large get-together. To accommodate those gatherings, the park will receive electrical and water service, plus the addition of a maintenance building to store supplies.

Reynolds expects to break ground on the project in September, and to have flowers and grasses in the planters by next spring.

Fairfield Mayor Ed Malloy said the park is a great idea and was thrilled to learn it will include tables and chairs to accommodate the demand for outdoor seating.