Summer has brought some small changes to the patch of green space next to Greencastle City Hall.
This is the open area come to be known as Mary's Field, in memory of Mary Rogers Field. Canadian Hemlocks, Cherokee Brave Red Flowering Dogwoods, Arborvitea, Hosta and ferns are the first noticeable additions to the newest park in Greencastle, which Friends of the Park of Putnam County organizers say also will feature wildflowers, perennials favored by butterflies and hummingbirds, additional fencing and a paved patio with sitting wall and sidewalks constructed of tumbled concrete pavers.
"In addition to being a wonderful wife and mother, Mary Field was a great friend to many in Greencastle and beyond. She loved to watch birds and she enjoyed nature. She also enjoyed having lunch with friends. Mary's Field will be a peaceful, beautiful place to do all of those things, right in the center of town," said Amy Robinson, secretary of Friends of the Park.
With the trees and wildflower plantings in place, the next phase of the park development will be the extension of the split rail fence further east along Washington Street and north and south along the alleyway to Franklin Street. The city will be reconfiguring the lot on the north side of City Hall to provide visitors with additional parking as well as to maintain the convenience of the drive up window for customers making utility payments.
"We have raised enough money to provide for our first three phases of improvements," said Friends of the Park Treasurer Joan Davis. "All of the donations so far have come from Mary's family and friends, and the proceeds from the Greencastle Chamber Music Concert held in her memory last month. We are about one-third of the way to our fundraising goal and will next be looking at grants and other programs to help us build the patio and sidewalks."
The Mary's Field committee credits Mayor Nancy Michael for her vision, the city council for swiftly approving the construction of the park, and especially the park board and staff for all of their assistance. Robinson was thankful for the assistance of all of the city's staff thus far, adding, "Even in the midst of a busy spring and early summer, when park business really begins to take off, they have always been willing to meet with us and give feedback about our plans. I am not sure that people realize everything that this department and their board does to improve the quality of life here."
One fundraising project that is underway is the sale of posters and T-shirts designed by local artist and committee member Jennifer Herrold.
"Jen really captured the essence of our vision for Mary's Field," Robinson said. Her work features whimsical animals, trees, birds, bunnies and a few doggie biscuits thrown in for good measure."
Both T-shirts and posters can be purchased locally at Bright Futures, downtown Greencastle. Shirts are $20 and posters are $10, with all proceeds going to the park. Monetary donations are welcome too, and checks can be sent payable to Friends of the Park of Putnam County, in care of Joan Davis, 705 Toddson Drive, Greencastle.
Friends of the Park of Putnam County is a non-profit organization and donations are tax deductible. Even though their motivation to build Mary's Field came from one person, the committee says that they are building it for the community as a whole.
Committee member Alison Edberg observed, "One of the great things about Mary was her ability to bring people together. We invite everyone to be part of the spirit of this place which for us symbolizes friendship, determination, and everything that is beautiful about Greencastle and Putnam County."