Smaller Local Parks & Open Spaces
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The second type of in-town open space is typically smaller and more locally used. The Valley News on September 3, 2000 notes that, "Although Hanover is among New Hampshire's wealthiest communities, the town is park-poor." The in-town area has few green spaces and pocket parks for recreation or for people to sit, rest, wait, gather and chat, where parents and grandparents can sit with baby carriages and watch older children play. The Herb Garden, almost the only quiet outdoor public place near Main Street, is located in a somewhat obscure location on West Wheelock Street away from where most people walk, park, or do business.
The best in-town open spaces are planned, distinctly shaped, and enjoyed by many people. They tend to be partially enclosed or to have a sense of being special places. Outdoor spaces that are merely "left over" between buildings are, in general, unplanned and not used to their potential. The square in front of Hanover's municipal building or the newly dedicated "Dagmar's Place" are examples of successful open spaces. The gap between the Ledyard and Citizens Banks on Main Street, created when the Tanzi Brothers Market and Fruit Stand burned on New Year's Day 1976, has the potential- as-yet unrealized- to become an enjoyable outdoor courtyard.
The town planning and zoning regulations should be more effectively written to protect and/or create positive in-town open spaces. Current ordinances allow for the crowding of buildings, which narrows views and can create urban feelings of constriction and pressure- feelings not associated with a small New England town. The new building and parking garage on Lebanon Street has begun to impose this effect. Planning for trees and shade can mitigate the impact somewhat, but the principal planning focus should be on preserving more open space in the initial design, size and placement of buildings in relation to their surroundings.
The Dartmouth Green is the most well-known open space in town and is a widely recognized symbol of Hanover. It serves many groups and individuals in all seasons, it connects the college with the town, and preserves a sense of openness and green space in the center of our increasingly urban downtown district.
Visible from Lebanon Street, one of the most heavily traveled streets in town, the open playing fields on the Dresden School grounds also serve many groups of people. Flat, safe, easily accessible recreation land owned by the Town is practically non-existent. With Dartmouth College's increasing need to limit use of their athletic fields by outside groups, the preservation of the Dresden School open fields is essential. Centrally located, these fields are used by people of all abilities and ages for exercise, family games, and community events like athletic games and contests at all times of day and evening. They are conveniently located across the street from the town's senior housing complex, and near several single-family neighborhoods and many apartment buildings. These open green spaces should be permanently protected for the use of the entire community.
The Hanover Country Club golf course is also used for winter sports-cross-country skiing, sledding- and year-round for walking.
Herb garden on West Wheelock Street is a place of respite.
Storrs Pond Recreation area is used for camping, swimming, tennis and walking.
The Dartmouth Green is the physical link between the college campus and Main Street- sometimes peaceful, often full of student activity.
Dagmar's Place is a new playground for young children.
Ideally, every in-town neighborhood should be within a three- to five-minute walk of both an informal open space (a forested trail or undeveloped area) and a more planned open space (a playing field, tot lot, public garden or park). Neighborhood parks provide children with places to play near home and people of all ages with places to meet their neighbors. Local parks should be an important element of the residential development pattern in town.