Atlantic Street Park
In her well-known song, “Big Yellow Taxi,” Joni Mitchell sings, “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” However, Mayor John Labrosse describes Atlantic Street Park slightly differently: “They paved a parking lot and put up paradise.”
That’s what the park is: a small oasis in our city, a paradise in the heart of downtown. With its outdoor stage, lush grass, shade trees and ample seating, it’s now the cornerstone of our HACPAC complex, where the Cultural Arts Department can bring the shows and entertainment outside. Throughout warm weather months, the park is home to Shakespeare in the Park, Movies under the Stars, Sunset Yoga, Zumba, concerts, recitals and lunchtime events.
Leading the way to redevelopment
The park is part of the City’s continuing efforts to revitalize the Downtown into a pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use area. Completed in the summer of 2015, it was one of the first major successes of this rehabilitation plan. Planted with red maples, Japanese holly, and fragrant sumac, the park was funded by a grant from the County Parks and Open Space Department, with a contribution from the Main Street Business Alliance, which is a Special Improvement District (SID). It is a welcome amenity not only for the HACPAC, but also to the adjacent new development of 222 residential units at 94 State Street, the first significant residential project in the downtown in more than 30 years.