A Lesson Worth Learning

On any summer day, dozens of people are kayaking, floating model sailboats, and wading in the pond. Nearby, bicyclists weave along the numerous trails. On winter days, skiers glide on the trails and kids sled down rolling hills. The Christmas tree is lit and families skate on the polished ice. During lunch breaks, local office workers take advantage of the speedskating oval, but on weekends and evenings, the oval belongs to the high-speed, Lycra-clad set. In recognition of the success of the park, the Alaska Chapter of the Associated General Contractors awarded the park the “Outstanding Project Under $3,000,000” for 2008.

The park is successful as a result of community involvement, the passion of a core group of dedicated citizens, the creative problem-solving of a professional design team of landscape architects and engineers, and the generous donation of a family dedicated to a healthy lifestyle.

Landscape architects and planners must be skilled in recognizing that challenges are opportunities. Seizing any one of the opportunities that were presented could have produced a decent project. It was a good park without a speedskating oval or a pond, but a better park with the addition of both. It was only after all the needs were recognized and possibilities pursued that the full breadth of the project could be realized, and the CuddyFamilyMidtownPark is now truly a park for families.

W. Dwayne Adams, Jr., FASLA, has nearly 40 years of experience as a landscape architect and planner, and is head of the Landscape Architecture Department at USKH Inc. in Anchorage, Alaska. Contact him at dadams@uskh.com.

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