Navarre holds grand reopening for Livingston Park

By Lorrie Ham
FOR THE LAKER2-L Navarre Park ribbon cutting CMYK h

Orono city officials capped off a wonderful day at the Navarre Community Festival by hosting a ribbon-cutting ceremony and dedication at the newly renovated Livingston Tower Park, located at the corner of Blaine Avenue and Livingston Avenue in Navarre next to the water tower.

A sign in the park outlines the story of Livingston Tower Park, which was originally part of the Navarre Amphitheatre Drive-in, a popular destination for moviegoers from 1953-1983. For history buffs, the theater’s natural setting could accommodate 575 cars. In 1983, when the land was sold and platted as the “Navarro” subdivision, the developers donated the parcel to the City of Orono for park use.

When the Orono Park Commission was reinstated, its mission was to revive, refresh and develop the city’s parks, according to Orono Councilmember Lizz Levang. The Park Commission, under the leadership of Rick Meyers, park chair, has addressed that mission statement by making improvements throughout the system, she added.

“The commission’s most ambitious plan to date has been at Livingston Tower Park, a pocket park that was underused and uninspiring,” said Levang. “Meyers’ vision was to marry beauty with function by creating well-landscaped, aesthetically pleasing gardens set off by benches and picnic tables.”

A landscape plan, developed in 2015, featured a pollinator garden, part of an effort to revive the health of bees, birds, butterflies, bats and other pollinators. The garden includes native perennials. The renovation work carried out Meyer’s vision in a series of gardens, benches, picnic tables, a hand-crafted water feature, and an informational sign marking the park’s history.

“Every park in Orono has a history and the goal of the park commission is to tell that story,” said Meyers. “The renovation of Livingston Tower Park brings to life the unique history of this area and suits the needs of the surrounding neighborhood. I am very pleased with our efforts to enhance and beautify this corner of Navarre.”

Following the ribbon-cutting by Mayor McMillan and Park Commission Chair Meyers, everyone in attendance was invited to tour the park and enjoy some refreshments, provided by local businesses.

Livingston Tower Park is designed for passive use. The park’s benches, tables, and plantings invite the user to “sit, relax, chat with family and friends, and most of all to enjoy quiet moments of beauty!”