Negotiations are currently taking place between the City and the Somerset Corporation about turning city’s Somerset Park into public land, Friends of Somerset Park has told to the local press.
Noting that “it’s been a long time since we have heard from you concerning Somerset Park,” several hundred supporters of the effort to turn the Willow Street green space into a public park wrote to Mayor in October.
The Mayor’s office received hundreds of copies of the letter, sent on Friends of Somerset Park letterhead. “We want to know of progress” regarding Somerset Park’s “becoming a part of our City’s Recreation and Parks Department.” The letter asked, stressing that Mayor had promised that this end would be achieved.
As a result of the letter-writing campaign, Mayor responded to Friends of Somerset Park that “my staff is still negotiating the final terms of the acquisition with Somerset. Our goal is to resolve this issue by the end of the year, although the actual land transfer might not occur until the spring.”
The Mayor noted that “preserving Somerset Park for future generations is important to me. However, this is a complex deal that has required considerable time to work out.”
The effort to purchase Somerset Park and keep it as parkland began in 2006 when the Somerset Corporation was sold and the new owners declared the park to be surplus land to the corporation.
Over the last few years, the Rec and Parks Department’s Open Space Citizen’s Advisory Committee has voted to allocate Open Space funds. Despite repeated vows from City Hall, there have been no reports of any talks taking place.
However, the Mayor’s most recent reply to the Friends of Somerset Park letter-writing effort does indicate that negotiations are still taking place.
Anyone with questions or concerns about the progress of these negotiations between the City and Somerset should contact the Mayor’s staff.