(Jan 21, 2016) Today, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin announced that the Department of Public Works will begin a major cleanup of the Bankside Grove in Pope Park, removing litter, bulky waste and understory vegetation. The purpose of the project is to improve the attractiveness of the park along Park Terrace and enhance its ecological viability.
“DPW is committed to maintaining our city’s physical infrastructure in emergencies and year around, and our parks are one of our most important assets,” Mayor Bronin said. “This cleanup work at Pope Park is part of our overall focus on strengthening neighborhoods and improving the quality of life for residents.”
“Taking advantage of the warmer weather and light snowfall, we have been very busy on major projects in the City” said Public Works Director Marilynn Cruz-Aponte. “We are mustering a large force to complete this cleanup quickly and efficiently.”
The site is mostly forested with oaks and maples, with a dense understory of shrubs and vines. Many of the species are invasive and have diminished the ecological value of the area by choking out other species more useful to wildlife.
“Over the years, a large amount of litter and debris has accumulated in that portion of the park” said Public Works Superintendent Tom Baptist. “This is an opportunity to replant helpful native species for the benefit of birds and other wildlife.”
Depending on the weather, the work is expected to take two weeks to complete. The project is headed by City Forester Heather Dionne, who is marking individual trees for pruning and identifying specific shrubs to remain. Hiking trails will be preserved and open for continued use. A dilapidated concrete stairway will also be removed.
DPW is planning additional cleanup efforts at Keney Park in the near future.