Location: On 4th Avenue between downtown and the fairgrounds
Size of Park: Medium small
Approximate Age of Patrons: My age
Topics of Conversation: "Back off!" "Go on home!"
Stray Dogs Seen: One in park, one across the street
Types of Vehicles in Parking Lots: n/a
Perceived Safety: Medium low
Number of Gunshots Heard: None
Dog Friendliness: Fine
Number of pitbulls sighted: Just mine
Incorporation of Local History: None
Recommended Patrons: Daydreamers
There's a monument to Rebbecca and Louise Dudley, but no real information on who they are. It could be a grave, from the looks of it. But for some reason, 60 years ago, John Marshall, whoever he is, added a concrete block with his name on it, looking like it was written with a stick when the concrete was wet.
Oh, and don't even get me started on the playground equipment, which looks like it was bought at a Kay-Bee Toystore Going-out-of-Business Sale. It's just this small plastic thing, not even close to the same quality as the stuff in other parks.
And, yeah, I had to carry a stick to scare off the dog that was roaming the park. And there's no incorporation of local history. It's a disaster of a park. Objectively.
But I have to tell you, standing in that park, looking up towards the baseball stadium or towards the low stone wall that lines 3rd Avenue, I can't help but feel like this was a very nice park once and could be again. The economy is too shitty and the housing stock too interesting to keep a neighborhood this close to downtown sketchy forever.
So I have hope for Dudley Park. It looked well-maintained. It had some nice old trees. It's a great place to walk a dog or run some laps. And clearly there's some history here that could be reincorporated, even if it were just a little sign saying who the Dudleys were and whether they're stuck in the ground there. And I've surely seen more terribly neglected parks.
Dudley Park could be a gem someday. It's just not there yet.