Nestled in a Mountain View neighborhood behind the Boys & Girls Clubhouse and across from Clark Middle School, the aging William B. Lyons Park was badly in need of a makeover.
Re-designed last summer by a group of imaginative Clark 7th and 8th graders in Heather McIntyre’s architectural design class, their idea of a small amphitheater for community performances and festivals is now a reality. “Since we designed it, we put stuff in people might like,” said thirteen year old Francis Tuikolongahau.
The park renovation was made possible with funding support from the Anchorage Park Foundation, the Anchorage Parks & Recreation Department, Anchorage Community Land Trust, Rasmuson Foundation, Weston Solutions, Senator Bill Wielechowski and the AK State Legislature.
Other renovation features include beautification of the parking lot, now with a giant mural of a map of the earth from the perspective of looking down upon the Arctic; new steel balls that now line the perimeter of the park (much more inviting than a fence!), as well as panels showcasing the kids’ artwork.
Jewel Jones, Executive Director for the Anchorage Community Land Trust says, “The William B. Lyons park improvement is further proof of all the good things happening in an inspired Mountain View community. This park is an example of a partnership that is about creating meaningful relationships and making a change that is beneficial and will continue to matter. William B. Lyons Park will provide needed meeting and gathering spaces for Mountain View families and a real solution for our Boys and Girls Club and Community Center which required considerate use of a small space for it to continue to serve so many children. These are the type of community projects that really add a layer of ownership and empowerment for our neighborhood’s kids and families, and are a statement that our community is special. I’m proud to celebrate this improvement in Mountain View!”
Other key players that must be recognized as crucial to the renovation’s success are American Society of Landscape Architects volunteers Kevin Donniere and Chad Taylor who led the Middle School classes through the design process; as well as Cessilye Williams, Principal of Clark Middle School who was enthusiastically supportive to the idea of doing a student-design for this municipal park.
Teacher Heather McIntyre hopes that the local kids’ involvement in the project will foster a sense of ownership in Mountain View. “They can look back and say ‘I did that’.”
The public was invited to the ribbon cutting for the amphitheater on August 23, 2012 to celebrate and watch amazing entertainment by AK Pride.