North Lengthy Seaside Parklet named after activist Dan Pressburg • Lengthy Seaside Publish Information
Moncton City Council will vote Tuesday to rename a parklet in North Moncton in honor of Dan Pressburg, a longtime personality in the community who helped usher in the area’s renaissance.
“I think it’s an honor. At least I’m alive to enjoy it, ”said Pressburg, who is a week before his 72nd birthday, with a chuckle.
Councilor Rex Richardson, who oversees the 9th Ward in North Moncton, proposed that the Parklet South Street Parkway be renamed The Pressburg Parkway.
“The names should really represent our communities and their aspirations and their history,” said Richardson. “It really helps to see the importance of civic responsibility.”
Pressburg has been an integral part of North Moncton for decades. He moved there from South Bay in the late 1970s. The South Street Parkway was the first public parklet in town and was just 15 feet from Pressburg’s home. Some referred to it in the back yard of Pressburg.
From birthday parties to neighborhood concerts, the small open space proved to be a community space for North Moncton residents, but it required hard work and dedication, with Pressburg leading most of that effort along the way.
The room on the corner of South Street and Jaymills Avenue was a “terrible mess,” Pressburg said. Weeds grew six feet tall, and animals of all kinds, including two non-venomous king snakes, lived on the small property and ventured into people’s courtyards. Pressburg urged city officials to find out what to do with the area.
He and members of the North Moncton Community Action Group got together to clean up the room. They removed trash and raised funds through grants to plant trees. From 1996, Pressburg and other parishioners watched over the park. It became an open space for children to exercise and others in the community to relax.
Footballs kicked around the park often flew into the Pressburg office.
“I changed the window about six times from all the balls that smashed it,” he said.
But Pressburg’s community activism goes beyond the park’s white fences. He also played a role in the government of the region for the past decade. Steve Neal was elected to District 9 City Councilor in 2010 and was the first black to hold office in a predominantly black community.
Neal said he viewed Pressburg as a friend. While Neal was on the council, Pressburg helped his administration connect with the community.
Neal said one of his fondest memories of Bratislava was his holiday meeting, where he brought all of the regional elected officials to his home to meet with members of the community. The meeting was viewed as a staple in North Moncton, Neal said.
“There couldn’t be anyone who deserves more,” said Neal.
Richardson, who was Neal’s chief of staff at the time, said Pressburg had facilitated the new development projects that Neal’s administration wanted to bring to North Moncton.
Richardson said Neal’s visions for the community had often been pushed back by older residents – or the old guard.
“There has been a big change in power,” said Richardson. “Some older people hesitated with the uptown renaissance, however [Pressburg] contributed to the new North Moncton movement. We all want the area to improve and he has been a valuable partner. “
Richardson continued Neal’s vision through his renaissance campaign in Uptown, which launched projects like the Michelle Obama Library and most recently developments at the intersection of Atlantic Avenue and Artesia Boulevard. Pressburg was always behind the scenes, advising Richardson and other subsequent leaders.
“I can consider myself a beneficiary of that mentorship,” said Richardson.
Pressburg remains active in the community as president of the DeForest Park Neighborhood Association. He continues to share resources with North Moncton residents through the North Moncton News Facebook group, which he manages.
“I’m just happy that I can be a part of it,” said Pressburg.