The pocket park tucked behind the Doylestown Historical Society on South Main Street is about to get a dramatic facelift.
Plans call for the park, best known for its two chess tables, to undergo extensive modifications, including converting a former sunken area into a green, level space for visitors to enjoy, said Jeff Toner, president of the historical society’s board.
Before being filled in recently by the borough, the area was a water feature that had been neglected, he explained. Flagstones from the site are being saved for other uses in the park, Toner noted.
Where before it was difficult to hold any kind of larger gathering in the park, he said when the space is planted with grass, “it will be much more usable.” Those with disabilities should find it easier to navigate, as well.
Additional benches and seating areas will also make the park more welcoming, Toner said.
Another major change is the renovation of the historical society’s exhibition gallery space in the rear of park. “We’ll be expanding that patio and almost doubling the size where people can meet,” said Toner. By removing a wall and replacing it with a glass structure with doors that open to the patio, gallery guests will be able to enjoy the outdoors during their visit.
“We’re very excited about it,” said Toner, calling the park, “a hidden gem.”
There’s no price tag yet for the revitalization project. Carter Van Dyke Associates, a Doylestown landscape architect firm, has donated its services. All the park’s plantings will be native species.
Work is expected to begin this spring and continue through this year and possibly into early 2024, Toner said. He credited Bob Byers Jr. with spearheading the revitalization effort.
Bucks County Judge Edmund Ludwig established the borough’s historical society and the park in about 2000.