Eighteen long months after the City of Greenwood, IN, broke ground on the redevelopment of Old City Park, its residents were treated to a wonderful surprise where the city’s oldest park stands – the six-acre property was completely transformed with new amenities, an extensive pedestrian and bicycle promenade, and a revitalized creek.
Bringing back the heart of the community.
“Old City Park was a centerpiece of community connection for over 100 years,” says Director of Greenwood Parks and Recreation Department, Rob Taggart. But the park had unfortunately become neglected and fallen into disrepair. Plus, it was becoming more and more prone to flooding during rainy months.
Eager to return the park to its former glory, the city partnered with landscape architecture firm Rundell Ernstberger Associates (REA) to develop a new vision for the park. REA’s design approach worked with the natural systems of the site to guide the layout of park destinations, amenities and pathways.
One park, many inviting destinations.
Old City Park’s 18-foot-wide promenade provides connectivity to the park’s primary destinations, including a restored stream corridor. Landscape Forms’ Neoliviano benches and Ashbery lights are placed along the promenade. Ashbery lights are a nod to the park’s historical place in the community as the LED luminaires emulate the gas lamps that once lined the space.
The park’s beacon is its vibrant playscape, which features a 20-foot-tall cube tower, the first of its kind in Indiana and only one of three in the United States. The playscape also features Austin bench swings installed in custom structures so parents can sit and swing while they watch children play.
Another park destination is a gathering area with games and fitness equipment. Foosball tables, cornhole boards, and bocce ball courts invite play for all ages. Arne catenary lights with diffused lenses create a soft visual experience in the bocce courts.
An event lawn and native species meadow are the other two highlight destinations in Old City Park. The meadow helps with flood mitigation and creates an educational tool for the public. These areas give residents the opportunity to connect with nature while learning about the benefits of green infrastructure and native plant communities.
Improving the site’s ecology is a special source of pride for REA Principal, Kevin Osburn. “Soon after the new park opened, I was standing on the pedestrian bridge and saw a family of river otters swimming down the creek,” he describes. “If you’d seen the creek before, you wouldn’t have imagined this could happen. The plantings and habitat are helping to bring nature back.”
Indeed, the successful Old City Park redevelopment seems to be pleasing all of Greenwood’s residents.
Published on September 17, 2021