of Completion: 2012
Architect: Paul D. Kissinger, FASLA, PLA, EDSA, Inc.
City of Owensboro, KY
Contractor: Hall Contracting
The Owensboro Riverfront District spans approximately 1.4
miles along the southern edge of the Ohio River, including the downtown,
residential neighborhoods and major civic open spaces. The planners and landscape architects defined, created
and implemented the residents’ vision for an active riverfront, with nearly $70
million of improvements, including a federally financed river flood wall and
City funded Smother’s Park. This pocket city, where 96,656 people live, has
invested in an array of development initiatives in health care, transportation,
education, tourism and travel that focused on making the city and county more
competitive in attracting residents and businesses through master planning
efforts in the downtown core.
Park Improvements project was part of the Riverfront District Revitalization
and encompasses five acres. Divided into
three distinct areas (1) the inlet water feature and signature fountain area
(2) Lazy Dayz Outdoor Museum and Children’s Playground, and (3) the Shelton
Memorial Park, the park has a host of
street and sidewalk design features that provide for a variety of public
gathering spaces and programmed activities that has invited more foot traffic
to the cafes, bars, leisure venues and businesses that thrive in an active
signature fountain plaza creates a focal point that connects to the downtown
and provides a public destination space. The rooster tail design pays homage to
boat races of the past along the Ohio River and with nearly 100 water jets and
a main iconic water feature that will reach as high as 45 feet, or almost a five
story building. The inlet water feature cascades water down a series of steps
that harkens back to the historic trail the buffalos took to water at the
one of the longest fully accessible playgrounds in the country, the Lazy Dayz
Outdoor Museum and Children’s Playground includes a state-of-the-art playground
and interactive water fountain. Its
"barrier free” design was inspired by a consensus building workshop held with
elementary school children and it allows children and families of all abilities
to enjoy the entire park, as everything is ramped and ADA compliant.
park houses an existing memorial dedicated to Charles E. Shelton and veterans
of armed services. Other components of this park improvement project include
street end overlooks, events pavilions and plazas, restroom/concession
buildings, seating and swing benches, signage, and a +/- 20’ promenade at the
river’s edge that allows continuous access to view the river.
go downtown,’ is the new theme of social activities with the Park’s amenities
take the definition of play time for people of all ages. In the business community, many downtown
merchants are experiencing growth of their own, and the hope is that this
becomes a ripple effect for the entire community. "On any given afternoon, the Park is vibrant
with an abundance of laughter and chatter about how ‘awesome’ the amenities
are,” says Owensboro Mayor, Ron Payne.
"This can be heard by visitors of all ages.”
with most public projects, funding was certainly a challenge. However, the political leaders of the
community, which spanned three mayors and several city councils, focused on
obtaining the necessary funding. With
this in mind, the landscape architect created a strategic and realistic plan
and partnered with city leaders in the pursuit of funding. Implementing this type of strategy built a
stronger community spirit and helped the City of Owensboro and Davies County
pass a tax for the riverfront and downtown development during one of the
toughest economic times in the world.
Park was unveiled with much aplomb and praise.
"It is our hope that we have provided a mecca for not only our
residents, but also for regional visitors to come and enjoy one of nature’s
gifts,” says Payne.
Project Manager: Jennifer
of Wisconsin Incorporated