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'Petra's Place' Work continues on new park honoring Fairfield resident

Ryan Ferris, owner of Ferris Construction, removes weeds around the concrete planter boxes in “Petra’s Place” a park under construction in downtown Fairfield. Ferris said the park should be complete this fall. (Andy Hallman/The Union)
Ryan Ferris, owner of Ferris Construction, removes weeds around the concrete planter boxes in “Petra’s Place” a park under construction in downtown Fairfield. Ferris said the park should be complete this fall. (Andy Hallman/The Union)
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FAIRFIELD – Work is progressing on a new park in downtown Fairfield and should be finished this fall.

The park is south of the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center on an empty lot where the Tribune Building once stood until it was torn down in 2014. It will be known as “Petra’s Place,” in honor of Petra Stanley, a Fairfield resident who attended Maharishi International University and was on its board of trustees.

Petra died of cancer in 2016. Her husband of 29 years, Alex Stanley, sought a way to honor her, and purchased the empty lot from Ross Walker intending to turn it into a park and give it to the city of Fairfield.

The firm Ferris Construction of Des Moines was hired to construct a series of raised concrete planter boxes, a harvest table that can seat 20 people, a pergola in the center of the property to serve as the main piece of art, and trellises.

Owner Ryan Ferris and a crew of workers have been working on the project this week. Ferris said he didn’t have a definite timeframe for completing the park, but said it should be complete in the fall.

Thus far, Ferris Construction has installed the planter boxes, which have a number of flowers in them. Trees and grass have been planted on the west side of the property, and an irrigation line has been installed to the site. A shed is under construction which will house the electric meter, irrigation equipment and other items needed for maintenance.

Fairfield City Engineer Melanie Carlson said the city is not technically the owner yet, but it is keeping close tabs on construction since it will assume responsibility for maintaining the park once it’s complete.

Stanley is using a charitable fund to pay for the park, so its current owner is actually the Greater Jefferson County Foundation.

Once finished, the park will have two wheelchair accessible entrances, movable tables and chairs, heavy enough to make theft unlikely, a bronze sculpture in the center, and a railing for ballet, a tribute to Petra’s interest in it.