Progress towards a health and healing themed park in the U-Med Districts has begun. Anchorage Parks and Recreation Planner Maeve Nevins has worked with a community advisory group of neighbors and developed a master plan for Folker Park that encompasses an intergenerational, health and healing theme and will include an art area, inclusive playground, paved labyrinth, fitness area, healing path, and more. The park imagined is a place for neighboring healthcare employees to walk or run on their lunch breaks, local families to explore nature and play, and senior residents of Providence Horizon House to enjoy outdoor activities and picnics with visiting loved ones.
In May 2017, park neighbor Barbara Garner and the Providence Horizon House, a senior residency located across the street, were awarded an Anchorage Park Foundation Challenge Grant, for their vision of a fitness area with equipment that seniors, adults, and youth of all ages can use together. The Anchorage Park Foundation is matching every dollar that the group raises for the project up to $12,500.
On Saturday, July 6, volunteers worked in Folker Park to plant forget-me-not flowers to mimic a stream weaving through the park’s east side. The blue forget-me-not is Alaska’s state flower as well as the official Alzheimer’s symbol. Larger construction projects will begin in 2018 and include two intertwined ADA accessible, 8-foot wide paved trails with safety lighting for night and winter use with funding secured this in spring 2017 when Anchorage voters bonded $200,000 for the park. The outer loop will be a fitness trail. The inner loop, shaped like a Celtic Healing Knot to symbolize eternity, will encourage a slower pace. Both will be wide enough to accommodate two wheelchairs.