Thursday, October 26, 2017
A project envisioned by community-minded members of Arc Herkimer involved the collaboration of all disciplines for Klepper, Hahn & Hyatt. Towne Engineering of Utica was another major partner in the project, providing electrical and plumbing design services. The result is an enticing accessible recreation park for Herkimer, New York, and the greater surrounding area.
In 2009, the Herkimer Area Resource Center (now Arc Herkimer) acquired 420 East German Street in the Village of Herkimer. The property included an historic factory, which was developed into commercial space for not-for-profits. To the rear of the factory was approximately three acres of undeveloped land, the site of an old rail yard. For this part of the parcel, the agency explored the possibility of providing an accessible, inclusive playground; none existed in the village or elsewhere in Herkimer County. The plan would incorporate a contiguous village playground, Basloe Field. KHH was asked to produce a concept site plan for the project, which led to project construction and completion.
Site elements and recreational features were designed to focus on accessibility. The site was relatively flat, so berms were used to define spaces and add visual interest. Plantings and passive recreational elements were incorporated into the berms. Drainage was a challenge for portions of the site, so implementation of porous pavements and a stormwater management system were successfully incorporated to improve site drainage.
The project was encumbered by the cold weather season and extraordinary winter storm events. This made springtime construction an aggressive effort to meet the June opening schedule.
Park elements required the landscape architecture, civil and structural engineering, and architectural design skills of the KHH team. Amenities include: age-appropriate playground areas for ages six to 24 months, two to five years, and five to 12 years; a baseball field; a basketball court; a one-third-mile fitness trail with five exercise stations; a bandstand with a concession area to the side; and a picnic pavilion. Seat walls, benches, and quiet spaces are incorporated throughout. All areas and buildings are fully accessible using universal design.
Arc Park was funded through public grants, foundation gifts, and private donors. Arc Herkimer continues to raise money for park amenities and maintenance. The constructed project cost was approximately $1.5 million. After several years of planning and fundraising, the park opened to the community with a celebration in June 2017.