Bankside Grove is one of the three large sections of Hartford’s Pope Park and an area that has not had major restoration work. The original Pope Park included 90 acres of land and the Bankside Grove area encompasses about 13 acres, serving as the link for the park to Capitol Avenue and downtown. It is the steepest area in the park and included land along the original Park River north of Park Street (now completely underground) in Hartford.
The 2017 Master Plan for Bankside Grove illustrates the long-term goals for updating and improving this important area of Pope Park. Over time new walkways, seating areas, activity areas and renewal of the landscape will be developed, and result in an expanded and unified Pope Park.
The design goals for Bankside Grove include:
Providing a critical connection for the Park River Greenway by including a paved, illuminated, universally accessible multi-use trail from the Park Street / Laurel intersection through Bankside Grove to the Sigourney Street intersection
Provide additional walkways through the major park areas and connect them with destinations, including the community garden
Include a park entrance at Park Street / Park Terrace similar to the park entrance on the opposite side of the street, with brick piers and a low granite overlook/seatwall
Provide open spaces that for passive recreation and provide seating
Connect the Bankside Grove improvements with the design of the future roundabout at Park Terrace/Sigourney Street
Encourage the evolution of the landscape with tree thinning for better visibility and the encouragement of appropriate tree species. Include lawn areas for play, and conservation-seeded areas for habitat, plant diversity, and reduce the mown-lawn area to address maintenance concerns
Introduce storm water retention and infiltration areas at the low areas, plant them with appropriate plants, and consider interpretive signs to inform the public of these important storm water treating and retaining areas
Encourage safety by improving visibility into Bankside Grove from adjacent streets, sidewalks and buildings, by encouraging more use and enjoyment of the park by the public, and by hosting events that bring people into this space.