For years, the garden exterior the Eastport fireplace station has been crisscrossed with dust footpaths worn by pedestrians who minimize via the property between close by residential neighborhoods and a business district.
Capt. Dallas Lister, a 26-year veteran of the Annapolis Fire Department, has contemplated what might be finished to accommodate that foot site visitors and spruce up the patch of grass. In 2020, Lister got here up with the concept for a memorial park to honor three fallen members of the hearth division and different neighborhood heroes.
As of this month, along with the Eastport Volunteer Fire Company and the Annapolis Professional Firefighters Local 1926, the division has raised $80,000 for the challenge that will probably be referred to as “Hero’s Park.” It will characteristic benches, lighting, bushes and shrubbery with paths paved by bricks engraved with the names of heroes, neighborhood members and extra.
The three Annapolis firefighters who will probably be honored are Lt. Josh Snyder, Firefighter First Class John Pershing Smith III and Gregory Grooms, a firefighter firstclass hazmat technician, all of whom died of a type of most cancers quickly after they retired from service, Lister mentioned.
Snyder was recognized with myelofibrosis, a type of leukemia, in February 2015. The 13-year veteran died in 2019 at age 34. Grooms retired in 2016 after 23 years of service and died later that yr at age 55. Smith began his profession in 2000 and retired in 2009. He died that yr at age 35.
“We thought maybe we can get something together that will memorialize these fellows and also bring the look that we’re looking for in the community,” Lister mentioned. “We felt the best way to engage all of our community, both the people who live behind us and the people that are doing business in front of us, was to try to set up a really cool spot that would have a multipurpose use where the kids can come together and meet and not tear [up] the yard.”
The division has contracted with Richard M. Sweeney Landscape Architecture to design the park, which will probably be on the nook of Jefferson Street and Bay Ridge Avenue. Sketches of the park present the brand new brick paths resulting in a round gathering area inlaid with a Maltese cross design, an emblem generally worn by firefighters. Plans additionally present a bell on prime of a stone plinth, memorial plaques and benches and a wide range of bushes, bushes and flower beds.
Organizers are greater than midway to their purpose of $150,000. Some of the cash goes towards changing growing old doorways on the hearth station; the doorways had been changed final month, Lister mentioned. They held the primary fundraiser at Heroes Pub in Annapolis greater than a yr in the past and extra occasions are deliberate, mentioned Lee Downing, president of the Eastport Volunteer Fire Company, a fundraising and outreach group related to the town’s fireplace division.
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“I am really excited because it’s a great spot,” mentioned Downing, who has been with the group since 2017. “We want all heroes to be celebrated.”
A portion of the cash raised to this point has come from the acquisition of commemorative bricks, which are available three sizes, beginning at $150 for the smallest and $250 and $500 for bigger bricks. Bricks might be bought on the Eastport Volunteer Fire Company web site: https://evfc.sq..website/.
Annapolis-based Bay Ridge Lawn and Landscape will probably be dealing with set up of the bricks, Lister mentioned.
Purchasing a brick is a “great opportunity for anybody in the community to have their spot in Annapolis,” mentioned Joe Pilat, president of IAFF 1926, the union that represents Annapolis firefighters.
Pilat, a firefighter firstclass, has been with the division for 16 years, practically all of which have been spent in Eastport. He credited Lister with arising with the concept to make the world extra welcoming to the neighborhood whereas honoring the division’s fallen heroes.
Once the group surpasses about $110,000, or 75% of their purpose, they may begin the planning and development course of, Lister mentioned.
Questions about the right way to get entangled with the fundraising effort might be despatched to BricksatEastport@gmail.com.