Residents, business owners, town officials, and representatives from local organizations celebrated the opening of the "pocket park" Saturday on West Main Street in Middletown between the Everett Theatre and the Gilbert W. Perry Jr. Center for the Arts.
The key feature of the park is the mural painted by artist Dianne Seitelman, owner of JJ West Studio of Wilmington, and co-artists Amy Watkins and Larry DiMaio.
"What we wanted to create was a continuation of Main Street," said Seitelman, who started the mural with the depiction of an antique shop. "Then we wanted to show the history of Middletown, with farms and a peach tree."
The artists donated their time to the project which Seitelman said was done over the course of a month, "in between all the rain we've had."
She was first asked about painting the mural by her friend, Amber Shader, owner of the "first & little" store next to the pocket park in The Everett Theatre building.
Following the ribbon cutting, Middletown Main Street Manager Tracy Skrobot organized a "pink party" in the pocket park, featuring the sale of pink lemonade and cupcakes with pink icing, with proceeds benefiting the maintenance and upkeep of the park. Middletown Main Street is the non-profit organization dedicated to improving the historic downtown area.
"We want this space to be friendly and inviting for the community to come and enjoy lunch or just sit and rest," said Skrobot in a previous Transcript article. "Our vision is to turn this dingy overlooked alley into a place that's bright, attractive and inviting to people who visit Main Street."
Several merchants also joined in the pink party with special sales all week, donating a portion of the proceeds to Middletown Main Street for the pocket park.
The transformation of the nearly 450-square-foot space is a collaboration between Middletown Main Street and property owner The Everett Inc.
"The Everett is about promoting the arts in the MOT area," said Richard Forsten, chairman of The Everett Theatre board of directors. "The mural and pocket park are part of our overall mission to promote all the arts. I also think it's a nice overall addition to Main Street."