Monday, December 28, 2015

Our Day in the Sun - Unveiling the New Sign at Baker's Field

Looking back at 2015, I realize our neighborhood group took some big strides forward. We organized several large events designed to bring people out of their homes and into their neighborhood. Before I go any further, I need to thank our Vice President Janina Lee and organizer supreme Michelle Totleben. They, along with our "regular crew", worked endlessly to make "things" happen this past summer. ~ Bob Hand 

Baker Field Re-Dedication Ceremony: May 8, 2015

As part of the Academy Neighborhood Association's ongoing efforts to revitalize and improve Baker's Field, we held a Baker's Field Re-dedication Ceremony on the afternoon of Friday, May 8th, 2015.

We wanted to make this as big of a party as possible, so we invited the entire Jefferson Elementary kindergarten for an afternoon "field day". Thanks to the cooperation of Principal Diane Madara and Assistant Principal Jeff Boam, it was possible for the entire kindergarten class to walk the 4 blocks from Jefferson to the field. Over 100 kids, all four kindergarten teachers, and a number of support staff made the trek down Holland Street on an 80 degree afternoon.

Thank you to everyone at Jefferson Elementary for making the day so special with your presence!

These kids are holding their new Academy Neighborhood Frisbees, made by our volunteer Michelle Totleben. Our association donated a number of  other "field" toys: bubbles, jump-ropes, and kites.

We were also very fortunate to have the Northwest Pennsylvania Collegiate Academy Vocal Jazz Ensemble perform The National Anthem, America the Beautiful, and The Blue and Gold for the unveiling ceremony. They also walked (6 blocks) from their school. 

Collegiate Academy Vocal Ensemble - outstanding performance!
We were also joined by officials from Erie County, the City of Erie, the City of Erie School District, the Neighborhood Resource Organization, and Mercyhurst University. Erie City Police stopped by and we thank them for closing Holland Street to traffic for the event.

The new sign - pre-unveiling. You can see the old stone in the background as well. The stone used to have a commemorative plaque, but the plaque was stolen a few years ago. The script on the sign is a recreation of the former plaque. You can see it further down in this post.

Baker's Field is named for Howard Baker, a longtime Erie School Board member, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. Baker's family donated the land to the school district in 1951. Baker family member Wendy Baker-Sherman, was on hand for the ceremony. 

Wendy Baker-Sherman speaking to the crowd.
The Academy Neighborhood Association has a number of people and organizations to thank. First and foremost, our good friends at Howard Industries who donated, designed, and installed the new sign at the corner of 32nd and Holland. The sign is a great improvement to our neighborhood and truly honors the memory of Isaac Baker.

Thank you Howard Industries!

We also thank the Erie Community Foundation, which provided funding for the ceremony, Alfee's Pizza, The Secret Squirrel, The Charter School of Excellence, Isaac Baker Menswear, Mace's MasonryMighty Fine Donuts, and all our neighbors who showed up for the ceremony May 8th. Without everyone's help and cooperation this day wouldn't have happened!

Baker's Field Background: Baker's Field is a four acre green space in the heart of our neighborhood. The field is located on the block between Holland and French Streets, and East 32nd and 33rd Streets. It is owned by the Erie School District and our neighborhood is working hard improve and revitalize the field.

Here is a look at the original handout from the day the field was dedicated on September 26, 1951. The field was originally called "Baker Field" but over the years it grew to be known and loved as "Baker's Field".