Across the Ohio River, Indiana’s new park will focus on sustainability
Scott Martin doesn’t just want to design another park.
The executive director of Conservation of river heritage draws inspiration from places like New York The high line or Central park when he reflects on how to transform the 600 acres of landfills, dumps, abandoned railroads and overgrown fields between Jeffersonville, Clarksville and New Albany, Indiana, into a massive new landmark: Original park.
In the next major step of the project, River Heritage hired HR&A Advisors, analysts and strategists who have helped plan parks and developments across the country, defining the economic, equity and branding impact that Origin Park – which is expected to cost $ 200 million based on the set of plans – could haveover the Kentuckiana region.
Findings from a six-month study, unveiled Thursday, show that by increasing tourism and attracting and retaining talent, consumer spending in neighboring communities could drop from $ 8 million to $ 23 million per year. year.
The company has also found that talent retention and economic development are correlated with investments in parks; so much so that “the annual expense impact of retained and attracted talent will pay off the initial cost of building Origin Park and the cost of maintaining it for a generation,” the RH&A case study reads.
“Building, maintaining programming and marketing your park system within the benefits of this region is of critical importance. This park, I think, can make a unique contribution to this effort, ”Candace Damon, vice president of human resources and project administration. responsible for the new report, said Thursday.
The economic impact report, said Martin, is another step towards preparing the organization for its first major fundraising campaign later this year. The park will be a multi-step process, and Martin said the individual elements will be funded and created one at a time, withthe first coin to be announced this fall. That first segment will be around 110 acres, said Martin, already larger than Louisville’s 85 acres. Waterfront park, located on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River.
The piecemeal construction will allow the public to enjoy the park before full funding is secured. And according to the president of the board of directors of the Conservancy and the president of the Ogle Foundation Kent Lanum, full funding for the project will match its scale.
“It’s not a $ 20 million project. It’s a $ 200 million project. It’s a world class project,” Lanum said Thursday.
While discussions around creating a park on the north bank of the Ohio River began seven years ago, the path to the creation of Origin Park officially began in 2017 when the reserve was formed.
“And then we started to work: acquire the land, establish the partnerships, select the architect, finish a master plan, start some small initial fundraisers and pilot projects where we are now, which rolls out the report. economic impact on the community expected. Martin said.
Beyond the quantifiable economic impact, Martin said the park will also be one of the first in the Upper Midwest to incorporate principles of environmentalism and sustainability into the initial design of the park, created by OLIN Studio.
He says the park won’t replicate the carefully manicured lawns of Louisville’s Waterfront Park; it “reabsorbed” the shore. They took into account the naturally wet characteristics to create a park that will function even during extreme flooding, support the area’s native plants and wildlife, and protect against erosion of shorelines.
“This land has been, as our ecologist says, plowed, poisoned, borrowed, filled in, dumped, forested. Anything you could do. It was the scene of an incredible environmental injustice,” Martin said.
The very name of Origin Park is that of healing. The name is inspired by the historic strip of land on which the new park will be built.
The state of Indiana during colonial times began on the 600 acres designated for Origin Park. The starting point of the Corps of Discovery (also known as Lewis and Clark Expedition) started there. For some families seeking freedom from slavery in Kentucky, they landed on this land after crossing the Ohio River, according to conservation.
Park plans also take into accountequity considerations in its potential programming and accessibility,like transportation needs.
Parks can often improve health outcomes by promoting more active lifestyles among area residents. Damon said the park-driven promotion of better health outcomes could reasonably regain 2,200 to 4,500 lost work days, as residents stay healthier and don’t need to take as much sick leave.
Damon said the planned park is unique in design, location and potential to add to the area’s current network of parks.
“I think you will end up with an exceptionally unique park in this region. In this country, the opportunity to experience nature in an urban setting is very, very unusual. The ability of this park to complement the rest of the system. parks is amazing, ”Damon said.
Contact Sylvia Goodman at [email protected] Find her on Twitter at @sylviaruthg.