The Poe Park Visitor Center, its winged-shape inspired by the Edgar Allan Poe poem “The Raven,” may soon take flight.
The building, on the Grand Concourse, just south of Kingsbridge Road, has been off-limits for more than two years, locked to the visitors and tourists it was designed to attract when it was completed in late 2009. But when Bronx Matters asked the Parks Department for an update last week, a spokesman told us that the agency “will soon be recruiting two seasonal Parks staffers for the Visitor Center. Once we find suitable candidates we hope to have them start as soon as possible.”
Those seasonal staffers will cover nine months of the year, the spokesman said.
Neither the Bronx County Historical Society nor The Parks Department had been able to come up with the money necessary to open the facility, the creation of which was initially envisioned by the nonprofit Fordham Bedford Housing Corporation. As The New York Times reported last fall, a proposal to attract individual donors by putting their names on paving stones was rejected by the city, despite that method being used to support the renovation of Tompkins Square Park in Manhattan.
Poe Park, where Edgar Allan Poe lived the last years of his life (1846 to 1849), is also home to Poe Cottage, a museum that attracts more than 10,000 visitors a year. The vision for the one-story $4.5 million dollar structure was to build on the Poe intrigue and create more space for local groups to host art and cultural activities at the center. The visitors’ center has a giant window on its northern end to look out onto the cottage. Council Member Joel Rivera allocated much of the funding for the building, which also brings much-needed bathrooms to the park.