Three-month makeover begins on Manchester's 'pretty park'

New Hampshire Union Leader
May 08. 2017 9:15PM
Rob Wezwick walks Sammy at Pretty Park in Manchester Monday. Renovation of the park begins this week. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

MANCHESTER — A three-month makeover is expected to begin this week on Wagner Memorial Park, the North End gem whose manicured vegetation, historic railings and monument serve as backdrops for weddings as well as graduation and prom photos.

Also known as pretty park, Wagner is receiving $200,000 in work over the next three months. Work will concentrate on the memorial at the corner of Prospect and Oak streets, where mature bushes and trees will be ripped out and replaced.

A plaza will also be created on Myrtle Street, where the flagpole is now located, said Peter Capano, a trustee with the Wagner Memorial Park Board of Trustees.

“It’s going to look worse before it looks better,” Capano cautioned. “Folks need to have some patience with the work.”

Even when the plantings are completed later this summer, it will take a couple of years for the new vegetation to grow into its space, he said.

The work is being paid for by the Edward Wagner and George Hosser Scholarship Fund, which was established by the park’s founder and benefactor, Ottilie Wagner Hosser.

The work will involve removing the trees beside the memorial, as well as the hedge and perennials around the monument. The asphalt walkway will be replaced with brick. Once the work is complete, the gates around the memorial will be open, allowing access.

“That’s where the biggest visual impact will be,” Capano said.

Given the extensive nature of the work, the park memorial and its surrounding area will not be available for weddings and prom photos during the project.

“It truly will be a construction site,” Capano said. “It won’t be safe to bring people into it.”

The plaza that is planned for the flagpole area will include four historic park benches. Park trustees removed the park’s custom-made, historic benches earlier this decade after a rash of thefts that led to the loss of five other benches and a portion of the monument gate.

Capano has said he believes the historic benches can be returned to the park and protected.

Work will start Wednesday with the installation of construction fences, Capano said. The Hollis-based Morin’s Landscaping will do the work, which is expected to take about three months.

A second phase of work is expected to begin in 2018 and involve replacing ground cover and overly mature trees on the Maple Street side of the park.


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