- October 22, 2016; 11:00 a.m.- 12:30 p.m.; Aberdeen Railroad Station Food Park, MD
- During my hour and a half observation, no one entered the park even though it was a Saturday. There were 6 teenagers and 3 adults passing by on their way to the local stores for snacks and groceries. Other than these people walking by, there wasn’t anything happening at the park.
- The weather is windy and cloudy so that might be a reason why there aren’t more people at the park. Temperature wise it is still a bit chilly but the fall air feels nice. Looking around the scenery isn’t the best because there isn’t much at the park besides the historic train station (is isn’t restored and the public can’t enter it), a small stage, and a closed food stand.
- There is a historic train station on the park space, but it is currently unsafe for the public to enter it. Therefore, it is blocked off with fencing and tape, the overall look of the structure does not add any appeal to the park setting. The city of Aberdeen is still debating with the local historic society about whether or not to move the structure before restoring it. Nearby the park, there are some neighborhoods with children and other restored historic houses.
- Besides walking past the park to get to the nearby shops, aren’t interacting with the park. There aren’t even any tables or benches to sit on, so it isn’t unexpected.
- The park was originally designed as a place for food trucks to congregate, but over time they found other destinations with better revenue. Currently, the park isn’t being used for anything besides as a holding place for the train station.
- The glaring problems right now are the train station which needs restoring, no seating besides the stage, and no playground for kids to play on. The train station needs to be restored before any further deterioration. Also, seating and picnic tables should be added so that people have the option to enjoy the outdoors or eat outside. Neighborhoods near the park have elementary school-aged children who could use a playground to play on after school.
- The city of Aberdeen is small with a population of about 15,580 as of 2015. About 58.9% of the population is white, 30.5% is black, and about 5.3% is mixed-race. Housing options vary from buying and owning a luxury houses, renting apartments, and buying affordable homes. Close proximity to Interstate 95, Route 40, and train lines made Aberdeen good for businesses. Aberdeen is also home to an operational train station and several buses. Businesses range from Frito-Lay, Clorox, Saks Fifth Avenue, Rite Aid, Pier 1 Imports, and family owned businesses and restaurants. The biggest draw to Aberdeen is the army base, Aberdeen Proving Ground, where about 2,000 people live, and another 21,000 work. (not all 21,000 employees work in the Aberdeen base, some working the neighboring base in Edgewood, MD)
- The city was named after the Aberdeen, Scotland by immigrating Scots around 1800. There have been some new businesses popping up around the town, such as the new IHOP that recently opened. Unfortunately, the big issue in the city is violent crime rates which are 22% higher than the national average.
- The Women’s Giving Circle is a charity that gives to nonprofits focusing on women and family needs, and they had just given 14 grants totaling $45,750. Another big story is that the Cal Ripken World’s Series will no longer be held in Aberdeen due to its cost.
- I feel that the park has the potential to be great. The location of the park is easily accessible to local neighborhoods, the high school, and local businesses. Restoring the train station could bring additional tourism to the area, further helping the local economy. While the park lays empty, it wastes its potential.