Tony Knowles Coastal Trail
The trail begins at the Alaska Railroad Station on 2nd Avenue and continues along Knik and Turnagain Arms of Cook Inlet to Kincaid Park.
Connecting more than 40 miles of trails and seven city parks, the trail brings year-around recreation to the doorstep of thousands of cyclists, runners, wheelchair users, skaters, and skiers. The trail, named after former Anchorage Mayor and Alaska Gov. Tony Knowles, also hosts the country's second-largest cross-country ski race — the Tour of Anchorage — as well as a range of other events throughout the year.
The genesis for the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, as well as coastal recreational access across the country, was the 1972 Federal Coastal Zone Management Act. Alaska legislators approved a statewide coastal zone management act in 1977, and a year later Anchorage approved an area-wide trails plan. By 1981, city voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 5 that included $6 million for the coastal trail's preliminary design and land acquisition.
Constructed in four phases between 1986 and 1988, the two-lane, 11-mile-long trail provides non-motorized access to all users. It was designated a National Recreation Trail in 1996. In 1999 the trail was awarded a Medallion Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects as part of its Centennial Celebration to recognize significant designs by landscape architects.
A feasibility study and preliminary plans were developed to extend the trail 13 to 16 miles south to Potter Marsh using mostly federal funds. Anchorage residents, however, were divided about the extension and in November 2005 the Anchorage Assembly directed staff to stop work on further studies and plans for the extension.
Because it is the city's most popular and heavily used trail, a watch program for the pathway was launched in 2003 and is staffed by citizen volunteers who patrol the route to ensure public safety. Funding for trail signs, lighting, maps, and maintenance is provided through local businesses and community partnerships. During 2011 and again this past summer, the trail underwent several miles of resurfacing and bridge repairs that will ensure decades more use and enjoyment.
- "Alaska Coastal Zone Management Act" approved by Alaska State Legislature (1977); creates Alaska Coastal Policy Council manage all local coastal plans in state
- "Anchorage Area-wide Trails Plan" (1978) connects neighborhoods and public facilities with coastal resources; identifies potential areas for trails, access points
- "Anchorage District Coastal Management Plan" (1979) specifically mandates a program providing public access to coastal areas in the Anchorage Bowl
- "Coastal Scenic Resources and Public Access Plan" (1980) is first comprehensive study of specific coastal areas for recreation and public access within greater Anchorage area
- City retained Kramer, Chin & Mayo, Inc. (July 1982) to conduct a "Coastal Trail Route Study"
- City Planning and Zoning Commission gave concept approval for the trail's preferred route between Ship Creek and Kincaid Park (February 7, 1983)
- Kramer, Chin & Mayo completed trail master plan (1983)
- Construction of $11.4 million trail began 1986, completed 1988
- Input solicited from affected neighborhoods through Anchorage Community Councils and used to refine trail route alternatives (1982)
- Trail Watch program developed; volunteers identified with armbands (2003)
- Volunteers have submit more than 400 reports through an online trail maintenance reporting system
- Anchorage Responsible Beverage Retailers' Association helps with trail litter cleanup
- Local branch of Covenant House staffs Trail Watch headquarters (since 2004); facilitates youth-at-risk job training in collaboration with city parks and recreation department, businesses
- $1 million in park and recreation bonds approved for trail improvements (1998)
- Gravel base installed to protect coast between Fish Creek and Lyn Ary Park (2001)
- $2.75 million bond passed to improve city trails and parks (2012), including safety improvements and surface upgrades along trail
- Nine trailheads with parking located along trail
- Trail connects with Elderberry Park in downtown Anchorage; quaint park with Oscar Anderson House Museum, one of Anchorage's oldest homes (1915)
- Trail connects to Chester Creek Trail at Westchester Lagoon; one of state's most popular disc golf courses here; resident waterfowl including Canada geese, red-necked grebes
- Trail access to Earthquake Park between mile 2.3 and 4.6; best location to view city skyline
- Point Woronzof marks the shift from Knik Arm to Turnagain Arm; on clear days views possible of Mt. McKinley and Mt. Foraker, also Beluga whales in Cook Inlet
- Annual recreational events include Tour of Anchorage Ski Race, Midnight Sun Marathon, Alaska Women's Run, Dog Jog, & the Mayor's Marathon, and numerous other fundraising runs
From stunning views of Anchorage's skyline to the breathtaking expanse of Cook Inlet, with occasional glimpses of Beluga whales, bald eagles, moose, snowcapped Denali, and some of the world's largest tides, there's always something to see and experience along the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail.
Los Angeles, California
Four blocks between Grand Avenue and Spring Street.
Twelve acres in size, the park contains a community terrace, performance lawn, historic Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain, and 24 multicultural botanic gardens. Framed by a stunning downtown skyline and covering a grade change of 90 feet, the park's four blocks of distinct amenities and features are connected by a variety of wide steps, pedestrian loops, and ADA-accessible ramps.
The first interpretation of Robinson's 1907 "City Beautiful" proposal was the Civic Center Mall built in 1966. Mostly invisible and underused for decades, it ran for two blocks between the Los Angeles County Courthouse and Hall of Administration. With the redesign, the public area was expanded to the four blocks between The Music Center at the top of Grand Avenue and City Hall.
Completed last year, the revitalization took 12 years of planning, involvement, and collaboration by planners, developers, designers, city and county officials, and the public. Representing the city and county was the Grand Avenue Joint Powers Authority.
Accessible by both Los Angeles Metro rail and bus, Grand Park celebrated its century-in-the-making on October 6, 2012, with music, food trucks and special events including an aerial dance performance by the group Bandaloop, using lines that suspended them mid-air from the iconic, 453-foot-tall Art Deco City Hall. Since the 2012 celebration, midday concerts, yoga classes, weekly farmers' markets, cultural festivals, and holiday celebrations have attracted more than 150,000 people to the park.
- Planner and landscape architect Charles Mulford Robinson proposed clustering Los Angeles city and county buildings together based on City Beautiful principles (1907)
- Architect William Lee Woollett of Albany, New York, proposed a civic center on the slope of Bunker Hill based on "magnificent acropolis and terraces in the style of old Athens and Rome" (1925)
- Architect Frank Lloyd Wright's downtown plan included civic center with rooftop runways (1925)
- Local chamber of commerce commissions stall Olmsted Bartholomew Plan, which would have transformed downtown into a network containing thousands of urban parks (1930)
- County Arts Institute director Millard Sheets produced a drawing of a 400-foot-wide park located between Grand Avenue and Spring Street (1954)
- County's chief administrative officer, Arthur J. Will, proposed a Civic Center Mall built on top of two levels of underground parking between the County Courthouse and Hall of Administration (1957)
- The county commissioned the Civic Center Mall Plan (1963)
- Los Angeles Civic Center Shared Facilities Enhancement Plan, the "Ten Minute Diamond," proposes to make Civic Center more pedestrian friendly; advocates a new park south of City Hall (1997-2000)
- Grand Avenue Committee formed by Eli Broad to create and implement the vision for Grand Park and commercial developments along Grand Avenue (2000)
- Related Companies selected for project; pays $50 million to Los Angeles county for park development rights (2004)
- County of Los Angeles approves Related Companies' Grand Avenue Implementation Plan (2005) to redevelop nine acres south and east of the Walt Disney Concert Hall adjacent to Grand Avenue
- County Board of Supervisors approves Civic Park Plan; groundbreaking ceremony held July 2010
Design and Features
- A system of meridian paths and connections, designed by landscape architect firm Rios Clementi Hale Studios, and inspired by the flat world map or Goode Projection
- Some 140 plant species represent the world's six Floristic Kingdoms
- More than five million gallons of water annually handled by filtration planters and lawns before water reaches storm drains; plantings are drought-resistant and watered with efficient drip tubing
- Restored Arthur J. Will Fountain (near Grand Avenue) has LED lights, interactive "Splash Pad"
- Olive Court, a plaza space with olive trees, historic benches, and speakers is a gathering place for art and book fairs, plant sales, small community events
- Bronze copy of Jean-Antoine Houdon's George Washington statue (donated 1933) is opposite the statue of Christopher Columbus by Francesco Perotti (donated 1973) on the Performance Lawn
- Park signage and slogan, "The park for everyone," translated into 25 languages
- Performance Lawn and a small stage for small musical performances, art shows and cultural events (east of Olive Court towards Hill Street)
- Park features movable chairs, benches, tables similar to Bryant Park in New York City
- Event lawn uses high-performance turf; includes dog run in northeastern corner
- Initial public outreach efforts conducted by Related Companies and Grand Avenue Committee throughout Los Angeles (2004); additional community workshops about park held (2006)
- Norman Lear Center, in partnership with the Los Angeles Times, conducts design competition to solicit additional public input for the park (2005)
- Operated by The Music Center, the park has more than 60 local partners including Self Help Graphics, Ozomatli, Victor Payan, The Last Book Store, The Colburn School, Homeboy Industries, Get Lit Players, and many other organizations, businesses, and artists
- Year-round activities include Sunday Sessions, music concerts, 4th of July Block Party, lunch time yoga classes, dance performances, downtown farmers' market, book festivals, and other activities
Today an aspirational vision of a civic and cultural center for downtown Los Angeles, proposed more than a century ago by the pioneering planning theorist and landscape architect Charles Mulford Robinson, has been realized through the redevelopment of Civic Center Mall as Grand Park. Extending from the Music Center to City Hall, Grand Park not only is one of Los Angeles's most popular places for daily exercises, lunch breaks, and family activities, it also is a hub for surrounding communities of historic Chinatown, Little Tokyo, El Pueblo, and the Old Bank district.
Two and a half miles along the Atlantic Ocean between Jefferson Street to the south and Sherman Street to the north.
Development of Hollywood continued at a rapid pace until September 18, 1926, when the "Great Hurricane" hit the area and left hundreds dead. The resort community would rebuild, but not before Young's "Dream City" went through bankruptcy, and many of the city's initial investors and speculators sold at a loss.
Despite the city's early tragedy, the Broadwalk and adjoining architecture — mostly low- and mid-rise hotels and apartments built during the late 1920s and 1930s in the Streamline/Art Moderne, Mediterranean Revival, and Mid-Century Modern architectural styles — are still there. Together with palm trees and the white sand beach, they give Hollywood the look and feel of old Florida.
To capitalize on the city's historic character and unique walkway, Hollywood established the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) in 1997 with the goal of making the city's ocean frontage a dynamic place to invest, work, live, and play. An extensive planning process was undertaken to obtain community input and develop a comprehensive plan for the beach, the Broadwalk, and the 42 adjoining street block ends that terminate at the cement walkway. CRA issued $20 million in revenue bonds in 2004 to implement the plan.
Among the improvements two new features are catching the attention of other coastal municipalities. New woven mats (called "Mobi-mats") that extend onto the sand from the promenade have been installed to provide handicap accessibility to the beach. Also, period-appropriate LED lighting is creating a safer environment for nesting sea turtles that use the beach. These and other changes notwithstanding, many visitors report Hollywood and its Broadwalk still looks and feels "like you're back in the '70s."
- Originally envisioned by Joseph Young, Hollywood's founder; platted and paved (1922)
- Hollywood Beach Casino was built (1924); located on the Broadwalk; 824 dressing rooms, 80 shower baths, shopping arcade, and an Olympic-sized swimming pool
- Hurricane hit South Florida (1926); Hollywood's growth and development stopped overnight; property values plummeted; city went bankrupt
- Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) Beach Master Plan adopted, historic district created (2007); provides setbacks, height restrictions, design review to keep existing character
- A large part of the $6.6 million the city takes in each year from tourists is collected at the businesses along the Broadwalk
- Redevelopment agency's Broadwalk promenade revitalization project completed (2007)
- Improvements include new public restrooms, palm trees, addition of ADA-accessible shower
- Broadwalk becomes part of Florida East Coast Greenway (2011), which is part of the national East Coast Greenway, an urban trail network that extends from Key West to Maine
- Margaritaville Resort in Broadwalk's central district; $147 million public-private partnership between the city, redevelopment agency, and developer
- Margaritaville Resort completion expected 2015; will complement other major resorts — Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa, Marriott Hollywood Beach, and Hollywood Crowne Plaza Hotel
- Promenade 27 feet wide and one mile from downtown; spans 2.5 miles along Atlantic Ocean
- Hollywood's oceanfront is a Blue Wave Certified Clean Beach
- New design includes designated "lanes" for walking, jogging, and biking; organizes space (2007)
- Unified palette of like materials; terra cotta pavers, coquina stone retaining wall, historic street lighting, and aluminum "corrals" contain drinking fountains, trashcans, newspaper boxes
- Coquina stone low wall; keeps promenade free from sand erosion; provides separation from beach and bench-like seating; incorporates beach showers, foot washes, directional signage
- Planter boxes at street ends; contain native, salt-tolerant plants that survive typical weather
- New LED light fixtures comply with local ordinance; feature 270-degree shields which decrease light pollution towards the water; create safer environment for nesting sea turtles
Beach Restoration, Storm and Climate Protection
- From 1876 through 2005, 18 hurricanes have passed within 60 miles of the city; significant beach erosion occurred with landfall of Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma (2005)
- Hollywood beach eroded along shoreline at a rate of four feet per year from 1989 to 1998
- Entire 6.85 miles of city's coastline recognized by state as critically eroded
- Since early 1960s Broward County has helped Hollywood with shore protection, beach restoration, and beach sand management; constructed with federal cost-sharing
- Renourished beaches provide enhanced protection for existing infrastructure valued at nearly $1 billion plus billions of dollars in property and thousands of lives
- Broward County adds "Climate Change Element" to comprehensive plan (2013); first local government in state to comply with "Adaptation Action Areas" policies
- Predict one-foot sea level rise for Hollywood next 100 years; 0.7 foot rise during past 70 years
Adjacent Amenities, Activities, Programs
- Ninety-eight small hotels on Broadwalk, also three oceanfront parks, restaurants, shops
- The 1.85-acre Charnow Park at Connecticut Street-end; redeveloped by city, CRA (2008); includes parking garage, meeting facilities, historic racquetball courts, play equipment
- Broadwalk connected by county bus, trolley, bike share, bike rentals
- Hosts annual festivals, parades, other events year-round; farmer's market and juice bar on Sundays with all-organic produce, juices
- Historic band shell across from Johnson Street end has live music, outdoor concerts
- CRA-initiated "City Pass" cooperative program with cruise companies in Port Everglades brings an average of 6,800 visitors annually on day trips to Hollywood Beach
- New "Broadwalk Ambassador" program supported by Greater Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, Hollywood Beach Civic Association, CRA, city; volunteers to provide tourist info
Hollywood founder Joseph Young's idea in 1920 for a new resort community was simple: plan and build what would be the Atlantic City of south Florida. Drawing on the "City Beautiful Movement" for inspiration, he bought his first parcel of land in 1921. By 1923, he had completed what would become the town's signature promenade, the 30-foot-wide by one-and-a-half-mile-long pink cement walkway named Broadwalk.
Norman B. Leventhal Park
Bounded by Milk Street to the north, Pearl Street to the northeast, Franklin Street to the southeast and Congress Street to the southwest.
A decade in the making and costing $80 million, the idea for the park grew out of discussions in November 1981 between then-Mayor Kevin White and Norman Leventhal about redeveloping the site. Six months later, in April 1982, another meeting with the mayor formally introduced the concept of a park and underground garage.
To implement plans for the $80 million proposal, a private-public partnership was formed between the Friends of Post Office Square, established in 1983, several corporate supporters, the City of Boston, and Leventhal. Acquiring the land for the new park involved a four-year legal battle, which resolved when the leaseholder of the above-ground parking structure accepted a $6 million buyout in 1987.
The 1.7-acre park features a great lawn, promenade, fountains, and more than 125 plant species. The four auto ramps leading to the parking garage are hidden by layers of grasses, bushes, flowers, trees, and iron fencing. Other details, materials and decorative patterns of the park were developed in keeping with the surrounding architecture.
Carefully maintained by the Friends of Post Office Square throughout the year with revenue generated by the parking operation, spring, summer, and early fall months see the most activity when an estimated 1,500 people use the park each week day during its hours of 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Late spring and summer is also when the park offers mid-day performances by local musicians and outdoor exercise classes.
Since opening in 1991, the park has received more than two dozen awards for its excellent design, the example it sets for a privately owned and maintained public space, and the contributions it has made to the community.
- Location of a four-story parking garage operated through 40-year lease with city (1954-1988)
- Neighbors of Post Office Square (predecessor of Friends of Post Office Square) organized; 20 investors contribute $120,000 in seed money (1982)
- Friends of Post Office Square formed under chairman Norman Leventhal with Bob Weinberg hired as president (1983)
- Lease buy-out negotiated with parking garage owner for $6 million (1985-1987)
- Park design process started; development agreement signed with the city (1987) and Halvorson Company of Boston selected landscape designer and prime contractor (1988)
- Underground parking garage completed, opens to public (1990)
- Park opens to public, 1991; completed in 1992
- "Immanent Circumstance," a glass and bronze walk-through sculptural fountain in the middle of the North Plaza, designed by Howard Ben Tré. When operating, a "water dome" is created
- Glass and bronze urn, also designed by Ben Tré, anchors seating area at park's south end; filling and overflowing water creates calmer ambiance in contrast to the more active south plaza
- A 143-foot-long garden trellis on park's east side defines pedestrian walkway along Great Lawn; open dome in center supported by granite columns; designed by Halvorson Design Partnership
- A subtle, computer controlled lighting scheme, designed by Ross Miller, edges the trellis; displays different colors that change seasonally and to celebrate local events
- Two airy, iron, copper, and glass pavilions house escalator entrance to parking garage and Sip Café; both designed by the garage architect, Ellenzweig Associates of Cambridge
- The Great Lawn is raised above the walkways by a granite curb, providing a relaxed retreat
- Harvard University's Arnold Arboretum permanently loaned the park six unusual specimen trees, including a Hybrid Red Oak, an Eastern Arborvitae, and two Giant Western Arborvitae
Park Management & Activities
- Park is privately operated and maintained by Friends of Post Square Office
- Green seat cushions can be borrowed midday, Monday through Friday during the summer, from a cart located at Great Lawn's south end
- Library on the Lawn: books can be borrowed midday, Monday through Friday, from a book cart on the honor system
- Free Wi-Fi available throughout park
There's no shortage of public spaces in Boston, but the city's first park to be privately financed is the Norman B. Leventhal Park located above an underground parking garage in the serpentine financial district. Where there once was a four-level, above-ground parking structure, there is today a popular and well-maintained space open year-round.
Mount Auburn Cemetery
Cambridge and Watertown, Massachusetts
The cemetery is bounded by Mount Auburn Street on the north, Coolidge Avenue on the south and east, Grove Street on the south and west, and Sand Banks Cemetery on the west.
Dr. Jacob Bigelow conceptualized Mount Auburn in 1825 in response to concerns about burials taking place under churches and in overcrowded and poorly maintained burial grounds. The Massachusetts Horticultural Society used 72 acres to establish a new type of cemetery in 1831. The design, influenced by Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, was created largely by Henry Alexander Scammell Dearborn with assistance from Bigelow and Alexander Wadsworth.
Today Mount Auburn encompasses 175 acres, functioning as an arboretum and wildlife sanctuary as well as a place to bury and commemorate the dead. An exceptional collection of trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants provide habitat for a variety of wildlife. Panoramic views of the cemetery, Boston, Cambridge, and beyond can be taken in from the top of the cemetery's 62-foot tall Washington Tower.
Recognized as one of the country's "most significant designed landscapes" and listed in the National Register of Historic Places as well as being a designated National Historic Landmark, Mount Auburn Cemetery draws 200,000 visitors annually. Among the most popular times of the year is the month of May, when birdwatchers arrive by the thousands for the spring migration.
Throughout its history Mount Auburn has been a nondenominational, non-exclusionary cemetery used by people of all races and faiths, from wealthy and prominent Bostonians to Civil War volunteer infantrymen.
History, Community Involvement
- Model for "rural" cemetery movement; nine major cemeteries designed after Mount Auburn within 15 years of cemetery's opening (1831)
- Influenced America's late 19th century urban park movement; source of inspiration for New York City's Central Park
- After opening becomes as popular with tourists as Niagara Falls and Mount Vernon
- Adjacent property acquired, expanding cemetery to 110 acres by 1833; additional land acquisitions through time have resulted in present 175-acre site
- Included in National Register of Historic Places (1975); designated a National Historic Landmark (2003)
- Friends of Mount Auburn Cemetery established 1986; assists in the conservation and preservation of cemetery; more than 1,200 active members
- Cemetery master plan completed (1993); addresses lack of space to continue development of traditional in-ground burials, as well as increasing pressures for additional recreational and contemplative areas
- Master Plan recommendations include preserving natural and designed elements; existing monuments and structures; establishing landscape character zones; implementing horticulture policy
- Nondenominational; more than 95,000 people are buried in the cemetery, with the addition of 500 individuals each year; development of new burial space continues
- More than 900 persons from Civil War are buried or memorialized in cemetery
- Garden styles include Victorian-era, contemporary, natural woodlands, formal ornamental
- Approximately 5,000 trees representing almost 700 species; some oak trees predate cemetery
- Many trees, shrubs, herbaceous plants tagged with scientific and common names
- Salamanders, frogs, turtles, owls, and hawks live here year-round; resting area for migratory birds; designated an Important Bird Area by Massachusetts Audubon Society
- Cemetery utilizes organic and sustainable horticulture methods
- Environmental health of cemetery a primary concern since 1993 Master Plan
Monuments and architecture
- The Egyptian Revival Gatehouse is first building using wood dusted with sand (1832); later rebuilt using Quincy granite (1842)
- The Gothic Revival-style Bigelow Chapel originally built during 1840s using Quincy granite; rebuilt during 1850s; used for funerals, memorial services, and public programs
- More than 44,000 monuments commemorate those buried; evolution of monument styles illustrates 180 years of changing tastes in funerary art and ideas about life and death
- The 62-foot-tall Washington Tower (1852-54) displays Boston Granite style prominent during 19th century; affords panoramic views of Boston
- Story Chapel and Administration Building built using Potsdam sandstone (1896-98); building used for funerals, memorial services, and Visitors Center
- $2 million restoration of Bigelow Chapel (2005-2006) including replacement of slate roof, repointing of entire structure, rebuilding of chapel pinnacles, and conservation of historic stained glass window
- Recently constructed greenhouse , recommended in 1993 Master Plan, uses state-of-the-art technology including open-vent roofing
Activities, self-guided programs
- Hosts memorial services, funerals, wedding ceremonies, and private meetings
- Accessible by car, bike, and public transportation; open to the public every day of the year
- Cars, but not bicycles or motorcycles, allowed within the cemetery
- Approximately 10 miles of paved roads, plus many additional walking paths; one- and two-mile walking path loops are clearly designated
- Audio walking and driving tours; self-guided brochures; self-guided tours via smartphone app
- Friends of Mount Auburn hosts walks, talks, concerts, and special events throughout the year
- Mount Auburn loans parcel of land to Watertown Community Gardens to support local food and edible gardens movement (2012)
Mount Auburn, the first "rural" landscaped cemetery in the U.S., not only changed how America thought about death, burial practices, and commemorating the dead, it also launched the 19th century rural cemetery and public park movements.
St. Louis, Missouri
Forest Park is bordered by Lindell Boulevard to the north, Kingshighway Boulevard to the east, Oakland Avenue to the south, and Skinker Boulevard to the west.
Superlatives and accolades for Forest Park abound. Some patrons consider it on par with the Smithsonian, while others speak of the park as the "heart and crown jewel of St. Louis" or cite it as the reason they chose to move to St. Louis. The park attracts more visitors annually than the Grand Canyon and Yosemite combined. It played host to the World's Fair and parts of the first Summer Olympics to be held in the United States in 1904. Among its amenities and attractions are lakes, museums, monuments, playing fields, bike and pedestrian paths, golf courses, sculptures and fountains, skyline vistas, and a world-class zoo.
The park drew international attention at the turn of the 20th century when it was selected to host the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, more commonly known as the 1904 World's Fair. Renowned landscape architect George Kessler was tapped to redesign the park for the event, and he made several dramatic changes including the transformation of wetlands from five connected lakes. Permanent structures still remaining from the fair are the Flight Cage, Emerson Grand Basin, and the Saint Louis Art Museum.
If the early 20th century was the park's zenith, the nadir came 60 to 70 years later, after years of budget shortfalls and underfunding created a backlog of deferred maintenance and crumbling park infrastructure. But in 1993, the City of St. Louis and Forest Park Forever — a nonprofit founded in 1986 to protect, restore, and care for the park — initiated a comprehensive master planning process to restore it to its former glory. Following the plan's adoption in 1995, a public and private partnership was established to implement the plan, which has involved raising $100 million for extensive building, landscape, habitat, and roadway capital improvements.
With several recreational facilities — including tennis courts, golf courses, boat rentals, skating rinks, handball courts, and fields for softball, baseball, soccer, cricket, rugby, and archery — there is something for each of the 13 million local residents, special event attendees, and tourists who enjoy Forest Park every year.
- Forest Park Act of 1874 authorized tax for acquiring land; one of the largest U.S. urban parks (1,371 acres)
- Initial design by Maximillian G. Kern and Julius Pitzman; 50,000 attended opening June 24, 1876
- During 1890s, streetcars brought nearly 3 million visitors a year to the park
- Almost 20 million attended Louisiana Purchase Exposition; greatest of World's Fairs (1904)
- Site of diving, swimming, water polo events during 1904 Summer Olympics
- Charles Lindbergh addressed crowd of 100,000 at park following his solo transatlantic flight (1927)
- EmersonGrand Basin, Art Hill and Post-Dispatch Lake area the heart of park and provide major gathering space; lined with classical promenades and eight fountains that propel water 30 feet high
- Dual Path System (2011); asphalt path for bicyclists, skaters and gravel path for joggers, walkers
- Thirty-six-holes of golf, tennis courts, boat rentals, skating rink
- Art Deco floral conservatory, the Jewel Box (1936), surrounded by rose gardens, lily ponds, statuary, monuments; listed in National Register of Historic Places
- Lindell Pavilion streetcar shelter (1892) now the Dennis & Judith Jones Visitor and Education Center
- World's Fair Pavilion restored with $1.1 million from private donations
- The French Second Empire-style Cabanne House (1876) is one of park's oldest buildings; originally served as park keeper's house; listed in National Register of Historic Places and a city landmark (1971)
- Nonprofit Forest Park Forever was founded to raise funds for park restoration (1986)
- City adopts the Forest Park Master Plan (1995)
- Forest Park Forever and City create private-public partnership to raise $94 million for "Restoring the Glory" Park renovation campaign (1996)
- 100th anniversary of the World's Fair showcased a renovated and restored Forest Park (2004)
- Forest Park Forever strategic plan adopted to guide park during post-restoration era (2009)
- St. Louis Board of Aldermen adopted enhanced Maintenance Cooperation Agreement to strengthen Forest Park Forever's public-private partnership with City of St. Louis (2011)
- Second comprehensive fundraising campaign is under way to raise $30 million for additional capital improvements and $100 million park endowment (2013)
Monuments, Cultural Institutions, Events
- More than 30 statues, monuments and works of art are placed throughout the park
- Park's most visited feature is the Saint Louis Zoo; has more than 18,000 animals (opened 1910)
- Saint Louis Art Museum originally was the Palace of Fine Arts during 1904 World's Fair; more than 3,000 works of art including works by Monet, Van Gogh, Matisse, Picasso
- Missouri History Museum's Jefferson Memorial Building; first memorial built to honor Thomas Jefferson; funded with proceeds from the 1904 World's Fair
- The Muny, opened in 1916; considered country's oldest and largest outdoor music theater
- Saint Louis Science Center includes planetarium; attracts more than a million visitors annually
- Special events include Great Forest Park Balloon Race (hot air), Shakespeare Festival, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra outdoor concerts, St. Louis African Arts Festival, and much more
Dedicated in 1876, Forest Park's 1,371 acres — which make it roughly 500 acres larger than New York City's Central Park — are home to 30,000 trees and five of the region's major institutions: the Missouri History Museum, the Muny (the nation's largest amphitheater dedicated to musical theater), the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Saint Louis Science Center, and the Saint Louis Zoo.
Essex County Branch Brook Park
Newark, New Jersey
Park is generally bounded by Interstate Highway 280 on the south, the Newark City Light Rail line on the west, and Belleville Park with an extension between Mill Street and the Second River on the north. The eastern boundary moves along many streets, principally Clifton Avenue, Lake Street, and a line extending from Branch Brook Place.
Originally conceived in 1867 by Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr., and Calvin Vaux, Branch Brook Park became the country's first county park for public use. The park is a mixture of iconic Olmsted–designed elements — including long, rolling greenswards, statuesque tree groupings, waterways, and naturalistic woodlands — and more utilitarian areas for general recreation, team sports, and special events.
At 360 acres, Branch Brook is the largest park in the Essex County Parks System. The park, whose borders move in and out forming an L shape, is approximately a quarter-mile wide and four miles long. There are two major circulating drives that connect the park's four divisions and 12 miles of walking paths.
Despite its beloved status in the community and philanthropic support, Branch Brook Park fell victim to benign neglect and delayed maintenance. To direct public attention to the park, several local citizen groups, including Friends of Branch Brook Park, Concerned Citizens of Forest Hill, and members of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center's Women's Board, joined together. Among their initial steps was getting the park added to both the state and national registers of historic places in 1980 and 1981, respectively. This was not enough to prevent the space from being "loved into decrepitude," which is how the park was described in the five-volume "Cultural Landscape Report, Treatment, and Management Plan" published in 2002.
A successful voter referendum in 1998 established a county open space trust fund and a source of money to start a comprehensive, $50 million restoration of Branch Brook Park, which the county began in 1999. Five years later, Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr. was elected Essex County executive. As someone who grew up next to Branch Brook Park, he was a strong and vocal proponent of the county park system and of Branch Brook Park in particular. Under DiVincenzo's leadership, additional funding for Branch Brook Park's capital improvements and repairs has been secured.
Since 2003, the park's revitalization has been supported with public grants from the New Jersey Green Acres program and the Essex County Recreation and Open Space Trust Fund, as well as private contributions from Prudential Financial President and CEO Arthur F. Ryan and his wife, Pat, who serves as co-president of the Branch Brook Park Alliance. The Ryans gave $1 million to the Branch Brook Park Alliance. Another source of support is the public-private partnership between Essex County and the Branch Brook Park Alliance, in which the alliance retains the services of the landscape architectural firm of Rhodeside & Harwell, Inc. of Virginia and Newark to guide the restoration. Essex County provides matching funds and technical support for the revitalization projects.
Today the park is in the final phase of implementing its restoration plan, including long-deferred capital improvements, and addressing recommendations in the Cultural Landscape Report that aim to restore the park's original artistic legacy created by the genius and vision of Olmsted and Vaux more than 150 years ago.
- Formerly Camp Frelinghusen, land for park used to train New Jersey volunteers at start of Civil War (1862)
- New Jersey state legislature authorizes Newark Park Commission to find location for a municipal park (1867)
- Fredrick Law Olmsted, Sr. and Calvin Vaux develop original concept of the park (1867)
- Newark Common Council donates 60 acres for what eventually becomes Branch Brook Park
- Essex County Park Commission is formed (1889)
- Essex County Park Commission hires Olmsted Brothers firm to develop the park (1898)
- Philanthropist Harman W. Hendricks donates family home, adjoining 23 acres for the park (1924)
- Essex County acquires 94 acres to link Hendricks Field Golf Course and Bellville Park (1924)
- Two thousand Japanese flowering cherry trees donated by Caroline Bamberger Fuld, sister of department store magnate Louis Bamberger (1927)
Design and Features
- Park has four divisions: North Division is most natural; Middle Division has ball fields and paths; South Division is oldest segment; Park Extension area has highest concentration of cherry trees
- Park's 4,300 cherry trees make the largest, most diverse collection in U.S.; Cherry Blossom Welcome Center recently renovated to create central gathering location for annual cherry festival
- Park covers 360 acres with network of lakes, ponds, connecting streams; largest lake is 24 acres in the park's Southern Division. The interconnecting waterway is a Passaic River tributary
- Prudential Lions located near the largest lake in the South Division have been park icons since 1959; symbolize Prudential Financial's support for the park
- Elegant Ballantine Gates by architects Carrere and Hastings located at the entrance along Lake Street in Newark's historic Forest Hill neighborhood
Examples of Restoration Projects
- Branch Brook Park Alliance hired Rhodeside & Harwell to produce the Essex County Park, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan funded by Prudential and Victoria Foundation (2002)
- Five-volume "Cultural Landscape Report, Treatment, and Management Plan for Branch Brook Park" by Rhodeside & Harwell, Inc., completed for Essex County and Branch Brook Park Alliance (2002)
- Since 2003, county made approximately $29 million in capital improvements and repairs to the park
- Improvements of $6.4 million upgraded Middle Division ballfields with lighting, scoreboard, new press box, grading, draining, field relocations, parking, pedestrian entrance (2006)
- New entrance built on the west side, making the park accessible from four light rail stations and 11 bus lines
- $6.2 million was invested to restore the Park Avenue Bridge in 2005 and the Bloomfield Avenue bridge in 2009
- $1.1 million was invested to rehabilitate the Prudential Concert and Kiyofumi Sakaguchi Memorial groves (2012)
- Branch Brook Park Alliance formed in 1999 to raise public awareness and include neighborhood residents and corporations in supporting the park's rehabilitation
- Corporate, college, and nonprofit volunteers, and professional arborists participate in service days, park clean-ups, and caring for the trees through programs such as the annual "Pru Cares Day"
- An urban-based farm operates in the park's two greenhouses, providing an educational opportunity for residents and students, and a source of food for underserved communities
- Branch Brook Park Alliance and the Essex County Parks Department sponsor a spring fishing derby that draws 350 to 500 children
- Local cultural groups hold special activities in the park, such as the old Italian game of bocce
- The Cherry Blossom Gala held annually by Branch Brook Park Alliance raises park visibility
- Essex County Cherry Blossom Festival attracts 100,000-plus visitors each spring; includes bicycle races, 10K run, student essay and poster contests, music, Japanese cultural demonstrations
- Community Picnic involves over 1,500 school children and their families and offers a fun run, paddle boating rides, music, games, vendors, and refreshments
- North Ward Center, Roberto Clemente Little League, La Casa de Don Pedro have established conservancy relationships with Essex County to support the ongoing revitalization initiatives
- North Ward Center and Robert Clemente Little League sponsor youth recreation programs that attract thousands of children
- Park hosts Easter egg hunts, wedding photographs, North American Tree Climbing Competition, fundraisers for local organizations, elementary school nature and environmental classes
The nationally historic, beautifully landscaped, and highly popular Essex County Branch Brook Park is the crown jewel of the Essex County, New Jersey, Park System. As such, it plays many roles: as a public backyard for the residents of Essex County, as the playing fields for the city's 40,000 students, and as the destination for 100,000 visitors each spring who come to see the nation's largest collection of blossoming cherry trees.
Grand Central Terminal
New York, New York
Grand Central Terminal is located at 89 East 42nd Street, between Vanderbilt Avenue to the northwest and Lexington Avenue to the southeast.
Modeled on Roman imperial baths, the Beaux-Arts terminal used by 750,000 people a day or more than 21 million people each year, was designed by two teams of architects led by the firms of Reed and Stem and Warren and Wetmore. Inside the Grand Concourse — approximately three-fourths the size of a football field or 275 feet long by 120 feet wide by 125 feet high — is a glorious, vaulted plaster ceiling with hundreds of star constellations designed by French artist Paul Helleu. The terminal's 42nd Street facade includes three tall, arched windows beneath a simple roof line that is topped by a monumental sculptural group of Roman gods by Jules Coutan and the world's largest Tiffany-glass clock.
The genesis for Grand Central was a 1902 disaster involving two steam-powered trains that collided in the 58th Street tunnel and killed 15 people. The New York State Assembly subsequently banned the use of steam by locomotives between 42nd Street and the Harlem River, setting the stage for a revolutionary idea by New York Central and Hudson River Railroad chief engineer William J Wilgus: require engines serving the terminal to be powered by electricity not steam. This meant the expansive staging area required for steam-driven locomotives could be placed underground and designed to accommodate two levels of track. Wilgus also suggested using a larger portion of the air rights above the 48 acres occupied by the terminal and adjoining rail yard than previously considered, which helped finance construction.
The terminal's closest brush with total ruin came in 1968, four years after the nearby Pennsylvania Station was razed. A proposal was unveiled to replace the iconic terminal — designated a city landmark just six months earlier — with a skyscraper more than 800 feet tall. New York City's Landmarks Preservation Commission twice rejected the proposal, a decision terminal owner Penn Central contested all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in Penn Central Transportation Co. v. New York City. A decade later the court justices upheld the city's landmarks law and set a national precedent for historic preservation.
Managed by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Metro North Railroad, the terminal is also a successful shopping center with separate food concourse, five exquisite restaurants and cocktail lounges, central market, and 68 specialty shops. A two-year, $200 million revitalization was finished in 1998 while Grand Central North, which provides access from 45th, 47th, and 48th Streets, opened in 1999. The latest expansion is the $8.24 billion East Side Access project — a bi-level, eight-track tunnel that will bring Long Island Rail Road Main and Port Washington trains to the terminal starting in 2019.
- Shipping magnate "Commodore" Cornelius Vanderbilt consolidated New York Central Railroad in the 1860s and 1870s; constructed first predecessor to terminal, Grand Central Depot, 1871
- Between 1899 and 1900 Depot expanded; reconstructed building named "Grand Central Station"
- Plan developed under chief engineer William J. Wilgus to demolish the reconstructed station and create a new double level terminal for electric trains (1902)
- St. Paul, Minnesota, firm of Reed and Stem selected (1903) to create overall design; the New York architectural firm, Warren and Wetmore, named Associated Architects (1904)
- Construction lasted 10 years, involved excavating 3 million cubic yards of rocks; 150,000 people visited the day Grand Central Terminal opened to public (12:01 a.m. Sunday, February 2, 1913)
- Busiest year to date was 1946 with 65 million passengers passing through the terminal
- The first great "stairless" station in the U.S., and is still the largest train station in the world by number of platforms — 44 with 67 tracks in the largest and deepest basement in New York City
- Decorative oak leaves and acorns can be seen throughout the terminal, including in the stairwells and above the track gates, evoking the well-known motto: "From the acorn grows the mighty oak"
- The Main Concourse's ceiling depicts the backwards Mediterranean sky with 2,500 stars, originally designed by French portrait artist Paul Cesar Helleu
- Other arches and vaulted ceilings in the Terminal were covered with fanciful Guastavino tile work.
- The four faced clock atop the Main Concourse Information Booth, made from brass with each of the four faces made from opalescent glass
- The Whispering Gallery, in front of the Oyster Bar on the lower level, allows visitors to stand in diagonal corners of the 50-feet wide chamber and whisper to one another as the sound carries across the arc of the domed ceiling
Preservation and Restoration
- Local Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the terminal a city landmark August 2, 1967
- New York Central and Pennsylvanian Railroads merged 1968 into Penn Central; terminal leased to developer UGP Properties, which proposed building a 55-story office tower above the terminal
- Landmarks Preservation Commission denies proposal to build skyscraper above terminal (1976); Penn Central files $8 million lawsuit against City of New York challenging commission's decision
- Added to National Register of Historic Places (1976)
- U.S. Supreme Court upholds landmark status of Grand Central Terminal (1978)
- Metropolitan Transportation Authority takes over terminal operations (1983); partners with LaSalle Partners and Williams Jackson Ewing, completing major revitalization and retail plan (1988)
- Named National Historical Civil Engineering Landmark by American Society of Civil Engineers (2012)
When New York's Grand Central Terminal opened on February 2, 1913, The New York Times reported that it was "not only the greatest station in the United States, but the greatest station, of any type, in the world." Planning, design, and construction involved 10 years and $1 billion in today's dollars, but the effort resulted in not only a building with 30 platforms and 44 tracks, but also innovations that influenced decades of American planning, architecture, engineering, and culture.
Walnut Street Bridge
The bridge spans the Tennessee River, connecting downtown Chattanooga and the Tennessee Riverwalk with the city's North Shore District including Coolidge Park.
Affording a stunning, 360-degree view of Chattanooga's downtown riverfront, the Walnut Street Bridge is used by residents and visitors virtually around the clock to stroll, jog, bicycle, skate, and dog walk. It also is the location for the annual "Wine Over Water" celebration held in September by Cornerstones, a nonprofit historic preservation organization, which has raised nearly $2 million through the event since 1994.
Built by the Smith Bridge Company in 1890 and opened to traffic a year later, the bridge remained open to vehicles until 1978 when it was deemed unsafe for further motorized use. The Tennessee Department of Transportation recommended demolishing the bridge, but Chattanooga's then-Mayor Pat Rose suggested another idea: use it for pedestrians only. Rose and Ron Littlefield, AICP, the city's Public Works Commissioner, kept the idea alive by hiring local architects Garnet Chapin and Andy Smith of The Riverworks, LLC, to develop a study for restoring the bridge.
Under the auspices of the not-for-profit organization Chattanooga Venture, a committee was formed to determine whether the bridge could and should be restored. Once it was determined a rehabilitated bridge could support pedestrian traffic, the local community rallied behind saving the bridge. Helping transfer the $2.5 million in federal funds originally designated for demolition to rehabilitation were former Chattanooga Mayor Gene Roberts, former U.S. Representative Marilyn Lloyd and former Sen. Al Gore. Local fundraising efforts secured the additional $2 million needed to restore the bridge. Restoration of the 2,376-foot-long span began in 1991 and concluded two years later.
Celebrating the 20th year of its new lease on life, the Walnut Street Bridge continues to connect residents with their city, reminding them of their history, memories, festivals, and civic-minded, "can do" approach to community-wide undertakings.
History and Planning
- Built in 1890 by the Smith Bridge Company; opened to motorized traffic 1891
- Closed to traffic (1978); Chattanooga City Commission votes to accept a modified project and begins studying reuse of bridge (1979)
- Tennessee Riverpark Master Plan (1985) reiterates possibility of the bridge as an alternative transportation connection and catalyst for riverfront redevelopment
- Walnut Street Bridge Resolution Committee report to Chattanooga City Commission addresses questions of bridge's structural soundness, restoration costs, funding repairs (1988)
- Bridge added to National Register of Historic Places (1990)
- Restoration begins on 100th anniversary of bridge's original dedication (February 18, 1991)
- North Shore Plan by Chattanooga–Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency identifies Walnut Street Bridge as linchpin for redevelopment opportunities (1992)
- The Walnut Street Bridge Restoration project completed (1993) for $4.5 million; at the time is longest pedestrian bridge in world
- North Shore design guidelines (1998) by Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency reiterate role of bridge in keeping new development compatible with existing character
Features and Activities
- Pedestrian-level lighting, benches, flower planters, informational signage, waste receptacles
- Zinc plaques, bearing names of donors, embedded in the wooden sidewalk planks; Walk of Honor located on center span of bridge, pays tribute to Chattanoogans of distinction
- A climbing wall (Walnut Wall) located on one of the bridge's northern limestone support piers
- 500-seat amphitheater beneath bridge with access to Riverwalk and stairs to bridge level
- The nonprofit historic preservation organization, Cornerstones, Inc., sponsors Wine Over Water Festival on bridge (begun 1994); major fundraiser draws 3,000 each year
- Prime viewing spot for "Head of the Hooch," one of largest rowing events in the country, also July 4th fireworks, Riverbend Festival, Christmas on the River celebration
- Glass-bottomed pedestrian bridge and First Street sculpture park at the south end of the Walnut Street Bridge connect to Hunter Museum of American Art and Aquarium district
Community Leaders and Citizen Involvement
- Straw poll during 1987 Riverbend Festival found 94 percent support for restoring bridge
- Earliest bridge reuse study by local architect Kurt Stagmeier (early 1980s)
- Dr. Jai Kim and Dr. Abba G. Lichtenstein, two consulting engineers, developed alternative, lower-cost ($4 million) proposals to restore bridge; helped convince officials of feasibility of restoration
- More than 200 volunteers man phones to sell 1,776 plaques to raise funds for bridge restoration
- Local historic preservation organization, Cornerstones (formerly Landmarks), advocated for bridge restoration and continues work to raise community awareness, secure funding
Maintenance and Environmental Sustainability
- Hundreds of tons of historic cut limestone and wrought iron were reused in new retaining walls and decorative exterior stairs in keeping the historic character of the bridge
- City of Chattanooga departments responsible for general maintenance of bridge
- The Parks Foundation launches new plaque campaign (2009) to replace original plaques, continuing its fundraising efforts for additional bridge improvements and enhancements
- Asphalt surface replaced with wooden planking (2009-2010); plaques reissued in recyclable zinc
- City replaces 126 of the 212 bridge lights with more efficient LED lights (2012); anticipate annual energy savings of more than 62 percent
Chattanooga's "pedestrian jewel" is not a trail, park, or plaza but the city's historic Walnut Street Bridge, the oldest and largest surviving truss bridge in the South and the first non-military highway bridge to span the Tennessee River.
Esther Short Park
The park is bounded by West 8th Street to the north, Columbia Street to the east, West 6th Street to the south, and Esther Street to the west.
The park's 5.4 acres were originally given to the city in 1853 as a gift from Esther Short, an early pioneer resident of Vancouver. She envisioned a public space where city residents could enjoy the energy, beauty, opportunities, and conveniences that working and living in downtown Vancouver provided.
Beginning in the 1990s, then-Mayor Royce Pollard captured the essence of Short's vision and began a years-long effort to reverse the park's decline with his "take back the park" lunches. Another contributing to Short's vision in the 20th century was Vancouver philanthropist George Propstra, who made a $3.2 million donation to the park.
A mixture of buildings occupy the streets adjacent to the centrally located park, including the new, $30 million Vancouver City Hall completed in 2007 and the Vancouver Center, a mixed-use building with 262 apartments and 16,500 square feet of office and retail space completed in 2000. Also across from the park on Columbia Street are the city-owned Hilton Vancouver Washington Hotel and the Vancouver Convention Center, which were built in 2005.
Hosting a variety of events including the Vancouver Farmer's Market with 250 vendors, Esther Short Park helps draw more than 150,000 people to downtown each year. After more than 150 years since its establishment, the park continues to be the "heart" of the Vancouver community just as Esther Short intended.
- Esther Short, a pioneer who arrived in the Oregon Territory, gifted a 5.4-acre site owned by her family to the city for a park (1853)
- City of Vancouver adopted the growth management plan, Visions for the Vancouver Urban Area, that redefines the park as center of a 30-square-block area (1994)
- City adopted Esther Short Redevelopment Plan (1997); outlines 20-year, $800 million effort redeveloping downtown with Esther Short Park the central feature of downtown
- As a result of the push for revitalization, Mayor Royce Pollard and others raised $5 million and the city invested $2 million as part of downtown redevelopment (1996-2000); since 2002, $250 million in private investments have been made in and around the park
Park Improvements, Features
- The majority of the park redesign has occurred since the 1990s
- George Propstra, founder of local fast-food restaurants, together with his wife Carolyn Propstra donates $3.2 million for park renovations (1996-1998)
- Initial park improvements completed; include oval walkway, radiating walks, gazebo, restrooms, rose garden, civic plaza, pavilion, bell tower with glockenspiel (2002)
- Pioneer Mother, a bronze statue of Esther Short, by nationally renowned artist Avard Fairbanks; located at park's north entrance (1928)
- Brick-paved Propstra Square is popular gathering spot and features 69-foot tall bell tower with water feature, bronze salmon sculpture, trout stream water feature designed by Portland, Oregon landscape architect Robert Murase, Craftsman-style benches and planters (2005)
- Bronze "A Gift for You" sculpture near Propstra Square by Jim Demetro (2001); depicts a girl handing flower to man symbolizing George Propstra's donation to the city
- Italianate-style Slocum House only building from old Vancouver's residential section; constructed by Charles W. Slocum in 1867, building relocated to park in 1966
- Park's playground, near the Slocum house, donated by the Angelo family; constructed in a Victorian theme to reflect the park's early history
- Park's pavilion and bandstand designed by Randy Salisbury of DSP Architecture and built 1999; used for concerts, festivals year-round
- Rose garden contains more than 98 rose bushes; maintained by the Fort Vancouver Rose Society; popular location for wedding photographs
- Vancouver Farmer's Market (Esther and West Sixth streets), features 250 vendors; southwest Washington's top attraction; Esther Short Commons site of year-round indoor farmer's market
A $6 million investment to revitalize Esther Short Park in downtown Vancouver, Washington State's oldest public square, has resulted not only in a rose garden and a brick-paved square complete with bell, but also the jump-starting of a 20-year, $800 million plan to redevelop downtown. The park and surrounding area revitalization have been successful, attracting some $250 million in adjacent capital investments since 2002. New residents are moving downtown, and civic leaders from towns and cities in the region are taking notice.