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2012 Award of Honor - Plantation Preserve
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Project Category:  Preservation and Conservation

Project Name:  Plantation Preserve

Project Location:  8050 W. Broward Boulevard, Plantation, Florida

Date of Completion:  April 2006

 Landscape Architect: Miller Legg - Michael D. Kroll, RLA

(www.millerlegg.com)

 Landscape Contractor: Sunny State Nursery & Landscape Company, Inc. - Mike Ebersold

 Owner: City of Plantation - Jim Romano 

The Plantation Preserve demonstrates the ecological ethos and societal consciousness of Landscape Architecture by providing a recreational amenity that preserves historical natural resources through habitat conservation.  This was achieved by the Landscape Architect’s design of the nation’s first public open space located within the highly managed system of a golf course.  Through innovative designs, the Preserve’s open space provides an environmentally-focused refuge supporting unique natural habitats, recreational opportunities and historical reflection.

The Plantation Preserve was populated by Tequesta Indian tribes from 750 BC – 1500 AD, primarily within tree islands surrounded by freshwater marshes.  The Tequesta tree island settlement and the on-site burials have been designated as a significant Florida archeological resource.  Modern history for the Plantation Preserve began in the 1950’s when it was developed as the Plantation Golf Club. 

In the 1980’s the facility was forced to close and the property was saddled with significant arsenic contamination issues, extreme vagrancy, and illegal dumping activities.  In the 1990’s, the City with the assistance of the Landscape Architect, acquired a Florida Communities Trust Grant and Broward County Open Space Bond Program funding for the parcel’s acquisition. 

Reflecting upon the historical significance of the Plantation Preserve, the Landscape Architect developed a program based on the project’s archeological and recent historical significance.  Unique program elements included:  1) Celebration of the archeological site, 2) creation of freshwater habitats to re-establish the tree island’s original context and, 3) a linear park that follows the Tequesta trade route.

Plantation Preserve’s 1½-mile linear park is an oasis of more than 60 acres of upland and wetland plant habitats within a densely populated area of South Florida.  The habitats mimic indigenous natural Everglades’s ecosystems including shallow pools, herbaceous marshes, willow islands, hardwood hammocks and pond apple sloughs.  These created habitats are a highly utilized refuge for a variety of wading and migratory bird species including wood storks, herons, egrets, ibis and purple martins.  The red-capped cardinal has not been observed in the Continental United States since the 1960’s and had never been photographed.  That is until 2008, when a red-capped cardinal was photographed in the marshes of Plantation Preserve.

To celebrate the Plantation Preserve’s Tequesta tree island and burial mound, the Landscape Architect accentuated the elevation of these historic features with organic soils that also protects the archeological resources.  Multi-generation old strangler fig trees were preserved and the island was reforested with native tree species.  The tree island was then enveloped by created wetlands to reflect the historical geographic context of the site.

Realizing the educational treasure of Plantation Preserve, the Landscape Architect designed an audiovisual informational signage system through the Preserve.  The topics of this information include the Preserve’s archeology, the history of the Plantation Golf Club, and the native flora and fauna.  The Landscape Architect successfully collaborated with artists, archaeologists, and production consultants to develop the graphics and narratives for this informational signage.  In addition, interactive signage providing audio narratives was sited at the tree island/burial mound and each of the linear park’s trail heads.

The Plantation Preserve is a project that preserves, conserves and celebrates the historical significance of the site.  The Landscape Architect’s successful design responds to its stakeholders while remediating environmental contamination issues, and providing a unique historical, conservation-focused recreation resource for residents.

Credits:

 General Contractor: Ed Harbauer - Wadsworth Golf Construction

 Architects: Jim Borrelli - Borrelli + Partners, Inc.

 Golf Course Designers: Mike Smelek - Von Hagge Smelek & Baril

 Pavers Contractor: John Lewis - Perfect Pavers, Inc.

 Tree Relocations: Tom Girley - Tree Movers , Inc.

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