Boyd-Taylor Park: A Review

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In Short

Location: Between TSU and the Preston-Taylor Homes
Size of Park: Large
Crowds: None
Approximate Age of Patrons: I was the only patron
Topics of Conversation: "I wish I weren't here alone."
Stray Dogs Seen: None
Types of Vehicles in Parking Lots: n/a, I think
Perceived Safety: Very, very low
Number of Gunshots Heard: None
Dog Friendliness: Fine
Number of pitbulls sighted: None
Accessibility: Fine, once you're in the park. I'm not sure how you get in the park, though.
Incorporation of Local History: None
Recommended Patrons: People who like polluted streams and being concerned for their safety

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I have been to some strange parks before. And I have been to some scary parks before. But Boyd-Taylor Park has to be the strangest, scariest park I've been to. And that was my opinion before I realized all the kids in the neighborhood dressed in their oversized red t-shirts probably weren't just super-excited about Carlos Martinez's first outing for the Cards.

Now, as you know, I'm all in favor of putting parks in places that flood. I think it's nice to use that space for something positive for the neighborhoods during the majority of the time when it doesn't flood, and it's nice to have open space with easily replaceable inexpensive stuff in it so that no one's life is ruined when it does flood. So in theory, Boyd-Taylor is in a good spot, in a deep valley between TSU on one side and the Preston Taylor homes up on the other hill.

And the playground equipment is in good shape. There are picnic tables and a path that runs along the creek. The park itself is very lovely.

But I couldn't figure out how people are supposed to actually get into the park. I parked behind some MDHA buildings and walked across the creek and then saw, once I was across the creek, that I was trespassing by parking where I had. Oops. Are people not supposed to walk into the park from that end? If not, I couldn't find another entrance.

There was a path leading down the hill from the school, but it wasn't clear that you could park at the school and the path looked fairly neglected. I didn't see any way down from the neighborhood into the park. So, it's like there's this large park you can't actually get in. I guess, if you lived right in the houses that looked down into the park, it'd be a nice view.

That's the main reason I felt that the park was incredibly unsafe. There wasn't anyone in the park, and if you fell and hurt yourself, I didn't think that it'd be very easy to rouse the neighbors to come to your aid.

Mmm. Lets hang out right next to this!
  • Mmm. Let's hang out right next to this!
A side reason I felt uneasy about the overall safety of the park is that the lovely creek that runs through the park comes out of a couple of culverts by where I parked. I'm including a picture of what the water flows through before it becomes a creek which dumps into the Cumberland.

It's basically a garbage tea. Who'd want their kid to play near that?

So this park almost feels like a fake. Sure, it looks like a park. It has park-like accoutrements, like a swingset and playground equipment and a path for walking. But I still can't see how anyone can actually use it. Getting into it from the west side (where the families live) requires making your way down a very, very steep hill and across the polluted creek. Coming in from the south side requires trespassing. I couldn't find a way in from the north and coming in from the west means coming down that crumbling path from the school.

It's as if they don't actually intend for it to be a park, but just to look like a park as people stare out their windows at it. This means, for all practical purposes, that there's no park in this very densely populated part of town. There's Hadley at 28th Avenue North, and then there's not another usable park until West at 61st Avenue North (both of which one can actually get into).

I don't know what's going on with Boyd-Taylor. The city needs a park right here. They have put what appears to be a simulacrum of a park right here. But then they've made no easy or safe way for people to get into it. It's as if we're just supposed to pretend it's an actual functioning park and ignore that people can't use it.

It's very weird.

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