Friends of Way Park are looking for more friends of Way Park. They are reaching out to community groups in search of park development ideas that honor the values that inspired the park’s original designation and its subsequent use.
Since Northfield Hospital relocated in 2003 from its home of 65 years on West Second Street, the group has been working to revive the park and create an open space that will be an asset for the entire community. Sarah Carlsen and Matt Rohn, chair and vice-chair, respectively, of the nonprofit group, explained both the history of the park and their vision for its future at the March 14 club meeting.
In 1933, the Way sisters, Laura and Lucille, deeded part of their family’s homestead in the 800 block between St. Olaf Avenue and West Second to the city for park purposes. In 1938, they agreed there was community benefit to a plan that would use half of the park for a hospital. Following the hospital’s move, the city decided the space should revert to park space and the Friends of Way Park was born.
Following the demolition of the old hospital, the park was unified when First Street was closed. Lots of sub-surface work has been done for drainage, an asphalt path as been created around the perimeter and donations from Knecht Nursery has helped repopulate the trees on the site. The Friends envision adding nature, music and water play elements, a memorial garden honoring the hospital’s legacy, a rain garden and more. If you have ideas or a source of funding, they would love to hear from you.