Commentary by Michelle Krcmery
I work for the City of Westfield and my mission is to make you aware of Grand Park. While that may seem easier said than done; it’s not. Grand Park is a vision, an experience that a lot of people in the community feel detached from. My job is to change that.
The Progress Preview on Oct. 19 was the event meant to open that door. In the end it was a huge success, attracting approximately 3,500 people. However, getting it off the ground was harder than I thought, because a 360-acre sports park comes with some unique challenges of its own.
One of those challenges: Grand Park is still a construction site. The construction schedule was packed full this fall. Due to the constantly changing conditions of an active construction site, more different considerations came up in the planning of this event than any others I’ve dealt with in the past.
The goal of the event was to encourage the community to walk around the park’s many paths to see the construction progress and view sport activities taking place on the fields. Scheduling these activities required a great deal of coordination. A few times in the planning process, just when it appeared everything was coming together, there were some curve balls. In particular, Westfield experienced more rain than originally forecasted in the days leading up to the event. While this will not be an issue once the park is complete due to the extensive drainage system, it had to be considered for the Progress Preview because the grass area between the asphalt pedestrian paths and the fields had not yet been planted and had become extremely muddy.
A few days before the event, the weather forecast changed from 60 degrees and partly cloudy on event day to 50 degrees and rain. Despite the gloomy outlook, we decided to persevere. We woke up the morning of Oct. 19 to a temperature in the mid-40s and rain. However, by some stroke of luck or divine goodness, the clouds lifted as we approached the event start time and the sun made an appearance. Event time came and so did the crowds.
The genuine excitement of those who attended was apparent on their faces. Many said how proud they are to have a park of this caliber in their community. All of us involved in Grand Park are also proud to be a part of such a special community that truly appreciates the idea of dreaming big and achieving a new, exciting future for their city.
Michelle Krcmery is the marketing manager of Grand Park. She can be reached at email@example.com or 804-3157.