Poland’s Peterson Park

Gone are the Sunoco gas pumps and gone is the small service station that once occupied a pie-shaped piece of land 150 feet long, 100 feet wide, and bounded by Main Street, Water Street, and US Route 224. For many years this station sat empty and neglected in the center of the Village of Poland. Everyone passing this abandoned station seemed to ignore the eye sore except for a few farsighted local residents and businessmen who had banded together in the late 1990’s and formed a nonprofit organization called Town One Streetscapes. This organization imagined this pie-shaped property with grass, trees, and flowers. The following is the story of the building of Poland’s Award-Winning Peterson Park, which was designed for the enjoyment of everyone; both young and old.
The first step in creating any public park is to purchase the property. In the case of the abandoned service station, acquiring a deed turned out to be a real challenge. The main concern was the unanswered question of whether the ground water beneath the old station was contaminated. After lengthy testing, all environmental questions were dropped when it was decided the public’s health would not be harmed as long as the land was used as a park. Negotiations for the property moved forward with John Scotford purchasing and giving the land to Town One Streetscapes to manage.

During the years the groundwater was being tested, plans went ahead to construct a brick clock tower adjacent to the service station property. Poland’s architect Robert Mastriana, AIA, designed a tower in keeping with Western Reserve architecture while Streetscapes raised money by selling raffle tickets for a new corvette. The tower was built in record time and included four clocks, a glass enclosed bulletin board, a belfry, and a copper dome. Plans for a park on the pie-shaped property were also developed by Mr. Mastriana and the American Beauty Landscaping Company. Once the property was purchased, construction began in 2005 using moneys donated by the Ray Peterson Family and the hard work of many volunteers whose names are listed on a metal plaque in the park. Dedication ceremonies took place under a large tent on the rainy morning of July 22, 2006.

Poland’s Tower

In its July 2008 Issue, the American Nurseryman Magazine awarded Poland’s Peterson Park first prize for its landscape design of a small park. Included in the park’s design is a life-size bronze statue of Polish Generals Pulaski and Koscuiszko sculptured by Tom Antonishak. Along Water Street are two pergolas, a flagpole, and a circular water fountain. Lighting and sprinkler systems were included in the design. Two ten foot wide wrought iron arches facing Main Street and Route 224 spell out “Peterson Park”. A generous gift of Carillon Bells in the clock tower was given later by the Ricchiuti Family.
Special recognition goes out to Ron Eiselstein, general contractor, to Roger Myers and Mike Peters, landscapers, to Steve Zentko, electrical contractor and to Larry Warren, Ted Heineman, and Bob Mastriana of Streetscapes, who brought all these details together.