Last week in a discussion thread on the Bridge Square project blog about the Civil War monument there, Northfielder Helen Albers wrote:
I want the beautiful Red Maple tree, which I planted years ago, to remain where it is. It is a perfect tree. How fortunate I have been to enjoy our Bridge Square for eighty years!
I told her I wanted to take her photo with the tree and asked her for more details on how it happened.
Hi Griff, Believe I am a regular “Johnny Appleseed.” Being a tree-lover, I plant them about town. When my husband Lowell died, I planted an English Columnar Oak in the UCC garden as a memorial. Then, I planted two Red Maple trees along the Central Park sidewalk, followed by a beautiful Red Maple tree on south side of our Middle School (now Weitz Center) which has inspired our schools to do more plantings. To beautify Bridge Square, I decided to plant the very beautiful Red Maple, which is now shining brightly with Christmas lights for all to enjoy.
I took these photos of Helen Albers last night with her Red Maple tree at the start of Winter Walk.
When I got home, I looked through my gallery of Northfield photos and found two photos that show Helen’s tree in the summer:
Left: May 24, 2008; Right: June 18, 2009.
Update Jan 8, 2014: Helen sent me a photo of the tree, taken last summer:
I’m putting on my citizen engagement consultant hat to alert y’all that tonight at 7 pm, we’re hosting a live web conference that’s intended to replicate some of the Dec. 9 Bridge Square Open House. To participate (comment or ask questions), you’ll need to register.
And if you miss the event, we’ll have a video of the presentation archived on the blog within a day.
Got questions? Contact me.
I’m putting on my citizen engagement consultant hat to alert y’all that the Northfield Bridge Square straw poll is ready. It only takes 5 minutes to complete, unless of course, you choose to include comments with it.
For rationale and background, see the Nov. 20 blog post: Help design the Bridge Square straw poll.
And be sure to either attend the Dec. 9th Open House or the Dec. 11 web conference next week. Consultant John Slack:
At the next open house on December 9th, attendees will have the opportunity to help define a vision for the future of Bridge Square. Those in attendance will also get to voice, write and even draw, their ideas for improvement of this well-loved public space. Please bring your thoughts, concerns and best ideas to share!
Last week, the City of Northfield announced on its website and via an emailed press release (PDF) that the public process for creating a master planning update for Bridge Square begins this Wednesday with an open house at the Archer House, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
There’s now a Bridge Square Blog Site. Yes, you can see my fingerprints on it, as I’ve been hired as a contractor (with my Wigley and Associates hat) by the City to handle the online engagement for the project, teaming up with the lead consultant, Stantec Consulting’s John Slack.
Here on LoGro, the headlines for all the recent Bridge Square project blog posts will appear in the upper right sidebar. But like I did when I posted updates on the recently completed Downtown Parking Management Plan, comments are turned off here because the discussion happens there.
I will attach a comment to this blog post whenever there’s a significant update to the project, just as a way of drawing additional attention to it. There are better ways to stay informed, however. See my post titled Tools for keeping updated on the Bridge Square planning process.
EQC member George Kinney stopped by my corner office at GBM this morning and asked me if I knew what was going on with the concrete truck on Bridge Square. I went to investigate and learned from Streets & Parks Supervisor TJ Heinricy and Councilor Dave DeLong that the three concrete pads will soon have game tables on them.
After a visit to NYC a year ago, I suggested here on LoGro that the City should put some game tables in downtown Northfield, and that the money should come from the Streetscape Taskforce. I have no idea if A) anyone paid attention to my suggestion; B) where the money for the tables came from; and C) how much the project costs.
But I’m guessing someone will enlighten us.
The three picnic tables were installed yesterday. Each has an inlaid backgammon and chess/checkerboard.
I was at a meeting of downtown office workers last week, hosted by the NDDC, when the discussion veered towards downtown amenities. NEC head honcho Megan Tsui brought up the issue of the lack of tables on Bridge Square that would be conducive for both meetings as well as eating. She said someone from the City once told her that they couldn’t put picnic tables on Bridge Square because pranksters would toss them in the Cannon River.
This little tidbit made its way back to Northfield City Hall and a few days later, NDDC ED Ross Currier told me that two picnic tables magically appeared on Bridge Square, evidently via
divine intervention an executive order from City Engineer/Public Works Director Joe Stapf.
Cool. And it makes me hopeful we’ll soon see even better table/bench amenities there that are conducive to meetings, games, socializing, and eating.
(With apologies to the author of the Book of Genesis for my blog post title.)
While strolling through New York City’s Central Park when we visited there in late July, we came upon a section of the park cordoned off for dance skating, run by the Central Park Dance Skaters Association:
Every Saturday, Sunday and Holiday from 2:30 to 6:30pm from mid-April through Halloween. The CPDSA sets up a sophisticated sound system and plays music for all dance skaters. The event is free and is supported by the membership of the CPDSA. Our Circle is attended by hundreds of skaters and enjoyed by thousands of spectators each weekend.
It not only drew a large group of dance skaters but an even larger crowd of onlookers because the skaters were pretty entertaining, if not for their skating ability, acrobatics and various antics then for their outfits.
It occurred to me that something similar could easily be done on and around Bridge Square in downtown Northfield. All it would take would be some local organization (YMCA? Community Ed and Rec? NDDC?) to take it on for a season.
See this 30-second video:
Back in 2008, Carleton College installed cement sidewalk pavers at the corner of 2nd and Division. The phallus design soon became controversial and plans to remove it were met with a ‘Save the Penis’ campaign that ultimately failed.
The Northfield Arts and Culture Commission, together with the Northfield Historical Society and the Downtown Streetscape Task Force, have pooled their public art monies to fund the reinstallation of the phallus design on a section of Bridge Square.
Yesterday, workers began excavation. The bulbous shape of the excavated area will be reshaped into a phallus, designed by members of the Old Sculptors Project, the complementary group to the Young Sculptors Project that has installed a sculpture in front of the Northfield Library.
"We felt it was important to save a piece of Northfield history and to have it stick out right outside our door," said Hayes ‘Gabby’ Scriver, Northfield Historical Society board member.
"There was stiff opposition to the project for a while," wrote Ava Gina, Chair of the Northfield Arts and Culture Commission in an email to Locally Grown. "We went to great lengths to make our case. It was hard. In the end, we believed strongly that inserting this design into the most pubic [sic] space of Northfield was in the best interest of all."
Yesterday was the opening Saturday for Riverwalk Market Fair. They’ve got a cool new poster, a new website with a hidden blog called ‘news,’ and a new location: they’re no longer on Riverwalk.
All the artists’ booths are now on Bridge Square instead of Riverwalk. Sesquicentennial Plaza and the adjacent parking lot remains the location for the food vendors/farmers’ market, although they had to squeeze onto the street surrounding Bridge Square yesterday because of the St. Olaf alum weekend beer tent.
It’s a more compact arrangement that centralizes the foot traffic and evidently is waaaaaaaay easier/faster for vendor-setup. I like it. Some panoramic photos:
I noticed workers cleaning out the Sheldahl anniversary fountain on Bridge Square this morning. (Yes, it’ll be ready for today’s 105+ heat index.)
It reminded me that Northfielder Brenton Balvin tweeted this question a couple of weeks ago:
#northfield friends, quick poll: is it ok for kids to wade / walk in downtown fountain?
I replied with an emphatic YES but Northfield.org board chair Nate White tweeted:
i’d say not okay on a typical day but I certainly wouldn’t fault anybody for taking a dip today!
I’ve never known it to NOT be okay for anyone to wade in the fountain, kids or adults. I’ve taken more than a few photos of kids wading there, eg, this photo from my Taste of Northfield 2010 album.
But maybe TPTB just look the other way when it happens.
Is there any question on what Ray "Jake" Jacobson would say about folks wading in one of his public fountains?
Santa Claus was in fine form on Bridge Square around noon today. Jim Rossow was nowhere to be found.
See the album of 10 photos, the large slideshow (recommended), or this small slideshow:
KYMN Radio and the Northfield Historical Society announced today via their respective blogs (here and here) that a webcam would now be streaming live video from Bridge Square. KYMN’s Tim Freeland and NHS’s Hayes Scriven are the geniuses behind this.
You may remember that Tim Freeland and Adam Gurno did a proof of concept last year with the time-lapse video of the December snowstorm which was picked up by MPR. (Nice work, everyone. Have some Google juice.)
However, the moniker “KYMN-NHS-Cam” is kind of lame. How about SquareStream? RiverStream? Should we have a “name-the-camera” contest here on LoGro? Continue reading The heart of downtown, now streaming live 24/7
A downtown business owner grumbled to me this week about the condition of the grass on Bridge Square, wondering why, if the park is the crown jewel of downtown, the grass in such bad shape.
I took these photos last night. Yep, it’s pretty bad in many spots.
The condition of the grass is mentioned twice in the Downtown Streetscape Framework Plan, created back in 2006:
P. 71: “Seed grass and repair lawn in Bridge Square.”
P. 73: “Bridge Square would have grass in the bald spots.”
I know, the grass takes a beating because the park is so popular and so many community events are held there. And there are probably issues with fertilizer and weed killer, both human and environmental.
With that in mind, is there anything that can be done that would also be cost-effective? And if so, what time of year would be best to do it?
The Sheldahl Anniversary Fountain on Bridge Square is back in action as of yesterday.
Is it just me, or does the height of water seem less than previous years (see photos here and here)?
I wonder if the fountain is having, um, trouble like some guys I know?
It’s nice to see the grass greening up around Santa’s house on Bridge Square, not to mention the Muni Xmas window that’s still on display. But I’m eager for the popcorn wagon to replace it.
Maybe tonight’s big meeting at City Hall with the community event organizers will resolve who has to pay to remove Santa’s house. Those pesky Winter Walk folks?
[show_avatar firstname.lastname@example.org]After three days and 8,341 still shots from our KYMN camera on the historic Scriver Building in downtown Northfield, Adam Gurno and I put together a time-lapse version of this week’s 8-10″ of snow during blizzard conditions and a full-out snow day! Watch closely as there is a quiz at the end of this 3-minute video presentation. Grab some hot cocoa and enjoy!
Dynamic Design Landscaping has donated a lighted Xmas tree on Bridge Square. Evidently part of the deal allows the placement of a large sandwich board next to the tree that advertises their Xmas tree lot on South Highway 3. This seems a bit much to me and with its placement next to the big Northfield Area United Way thermometer, makes Bridge Square look cluttered.
Continue reading Is the sandwich board on Bridge Square kosher?
The Northfield Senior Citizens popcorn wagon is in place. Workers from the City of Northfield Streets, Parks & Facilities Division have given the Sheldahl anniversary fountain a fresh coat of interior paint. The Northfield Garden Club has flowers in the pots.
I love Bridge Square.