Hi John, all, Josh,
Thank you for your meeting recap, this is helpful.I will try to intersperse answers to your questions/comments:
For lack of a better term, I’m calling the project the New Paltz Park. In fact, the name is important in terms of identity, sense of place and fundraising and should be considered carefully.
We call the project feed back hub (town hub/town square). The feedback term was adopted from systems thinking, as it underlies sustainability thinking. As a group we call ourselves FeedBackLab. Here is a bare bones website we put together for a grant application:
We could add more info and actually use the website to share info on the progress of the square if desired.
I have some comments and questions related to the original ideas and goals that you describe:We understand the core goal to be enabling communication and community. That makes great sense based on the location (a centrally located literal crossroads/gateway) and format (a public park). Sustainability is, of course, of utmost importance and should be a prime consideration in the design, but it begs the question: is this a park about sustainability or is it a sustainable park about community?Good question. We had imagined it as a community square which enacts, demonstrates or features sustainability projects/ideas/initiatives/data. More people need to get involved in order to make this a reality, so right now this question is open. As a starting point it is about moving parking spaces and opening up the concrete to make room for community and plants. Activating the space would be great, but we'd have to reach out to the village and campus community to see in which direction it would go at this point.
A water quality feedback system sounds great; please give us more information on how that works and how the info could be displayed/disbursed. We thought that it could be interesting, for instance, if the park itself indicated the current water quality, say, in the Wallkill, with LED lighting. Imagine that a central kiosk would be lighted red, yellow or green depending on the quality or pollution level of the river (maybe similar to the buoy that was in the college pond - http://buoy.newpaltz.edu/).I'll let Josh answer this question (cc'ed) more in detail. He is basically developing water sensors which can be installed in the river and any water outlet. The data get streamed to an app which displays them. I like the idea of the LED lighting representation idea in the square a lot, Josh, do you think this is feasible?
Solar panels could help supply a kiosk or some site lighting, but there may need to be another more permanent source of power if electrical devices are used in the design.Agreed, maybe solar panels with a battery would suffice. We might be able to find a local sponsor for this...?
Water retention is a great idea, but can be complicated and costly; it should be looked at carefully and in detail.Cost will always be an issue... we may not be able to do this. Floyd had some thoughts about this as far as I recall. I don;t know what is involved in detail.
I’m not clear on the Sustainability Feedback App; please explain.We had started a collaboration with local company SamSix to develop a visioning app which would help local sustainability initiatives and exchanges. (solar installations and field visioning and data, eco exchanges, desired bike lanes, etc.) This was put on hold and now would need some people excited about it to continue developing it. I am not able to dedicate lots of time at the moment.
I’m not clear on the silkscreen holes; please explain.The idea was to open up the concrete in areas by drilling 1, 2, and 3 inch holes in interesting patterns. This would improve drainage and integrate interesting designs. The holes could remain open to encourage plant growth, or closed with colored stones etc to walk on. There are concerns about maintenance and the remaining concrete breaking in cold weather.
Hope this helps, let me know if I should clarify some aspects more. Happy to talk on the phone also.All my best,Andrea
At our meeting we discussed the following ideas:The design has to be reconciled with the existing conditions. There are guy wires, telephone pole braces, signs, fire hydrants, changes in level, etc. Those elements should be addressed and integrated into the design solution. We’ve conducted a survey of the area.There is a loosely established urban/infrastructure language in New Paltz used at the Mohonk Walk and Concourse at SUNY as well as the Carmine Liberta Bridge Scenic Overlook. Essentially, it consists of stone benches, brick + concrete walks (similar to Main Street) and CorTen weathering steel. We feel it would be good for the park to match, or at least be harmonious, with that language where possible.There is an established design for the downtown sidewalks that occurs up Main Street and across Main Street from the park site. We recommend picking up on that design when possible. Although changing the sidewalk along the park’s edge may not be part of the work now, it should be considered and planned for accordingly.The existing rhythm of trees along Main Street should be considered and picked up, where possible, in the park design.The existing pedestrian circulation at the crosswalks, as well as the expected circulation from the parking lot, should be considered when determining access into and paths through the park.The difference in grade form the street/parking level to the sidewalk has to be addressed with ramps or curbs.Tim mentioned the idea of a feature sculpture. If such a sculpture was created and obtained in a way that promoted sustainability and community, it could be a great thing.I mentioned the idea of graffiti and public communication. Creating a place where the community could post their own messages (graffiti, band stickers, notes, missing cat posters, yard sale flyers, etc.) could add real function and an opportunity for an interesting layered patina of public dialog. Part of the inspiration for this idea is the Pasquino “talking statue” of Rome, where people have been posting witty colloquial criticism of the government/Papacy for hundreds of years (
Ongoing maintenance is a primary concern. The park should be as maintenance-free as possible.