CHALLENGE: When the City of Greenwood, Ind., began an 18-month-long endeavor to redevelop Old City Park, its goal was to transform the city’s oldest park, one with a prominent location in the heart of downtown. The City partnered with landscape architecture firm REA to develop and implement a new vision for the park. REA’s design worked with the natural systems of the site to guide the layout of park destinations, amenities, and pathways.
“Old City Park was a centerpiece of community connection for over 100 years,” says Director of Greenwood Parks and Recreation Department Rob Taggart. But it had become a neglected park. A roadway bisected green spaces, though without walkways it was not a “welcoming place,” explains City of Greenwood Capital Projects Manager Kevin Steinmetz. A playground was in disrepair, and the park itself is in a floodplain, often making it unusable. “We closed the park and began the work to transform it in a way that respected its history and also looked to the future,” says Steinmetz.
INFLUENCE: An 18-foot-wide promenade provides connectivity to the park’s primary destinations, including a pedestrian bridge, playscape, event lawn, game/fitness area, and restored stream corridor. Landscape Forms’ Neoliviano benches and Ashbery area lights are placed along the promenade, trails, and throughout the programmed areas. The City of Greenwood has standardized these products as well as Chase litter/recycling receptacles for its redevelopment projects. “A standard set of site elements creates connectivity throughout the city and says, ‘This is public space.’ They become elements of the city’s brand,” explains Steinmetz. City leaders were attracted to Ashbery’s balancing of the past and the future. “Greenwood is both an old city and, as a suburb of Indianapolis, a constantly growing city,” says Taggart. “An LED fixture that emulates gas lamps respects our past and also looks forward. Ashbery lights are authentic to our culture.”
SOLUTION: The Greenwood community was treated to an entirely new engagement with the six-acre property when the park reopened in 2020. The pedestrian and bicycle promenade connect two of the city’s main road arteries. Pleasant Creek has been brought back to a more natural state with native species surrounding its feathered banks. One of the park’s prominent destinations is the 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. Several Arne multi-fixture area lights placed around the playscape add the additional light levels the City desired. “The Arne lights serve as a safety feature but their thin profile design doesn’t obstruct,” says Taggart. The game/fitness area, with its foosball tables, cornhole boards, and bocce ball courts, invite play for all ages. Arne catenary lights with diffused lenses create a softer visual experience in the bocce courts. “Each of the amenities was designed with respect to the site’s natural topography, drainage, and connectivity. We studied every element carefully and were intentional about creating a space that felt welcoming to everyone. This truly is a community park,” says Taggart.
“The redevelopment of Old City Park created a place that simply hadn’t existed in Greenwood,” says Osburn. “It’s now a downtown destination that will be a catalyst for transformation of and engagement with downtown, helping attract and retain residents and businesses.”