February 3, 2022 by Jennifer Reut
Seattle’s Freeway Park, Boston’s Rose Kennedy Greenway, and Dallas’s Klyde Warren Park. Though all three freeway deck parks are identified exterior their house cities for his or her audacious design and engineering, it’s the third, by OJB, that arguably has set off a wave of comparable initiatives previously a number of years. Cities and builders have begun to eye deck parks as a method to jump-start ghostly downtowns and to knit communities again collectively after interstates sliced via them within the Nineteen Sixties and Nineteen Seventies. An elevated give attention to reconnecting neighborhoods in debates across the infrastructure invoice introduced freeway deck parks onto the nationwide stage.
After I-74 got here via Peoria, Illinois, in 1958, it divided town’s downtown from the adjoining neighborhoods, together with a number of historic and cultural sights. Shops left, individuals who have been ready migrated to the suburbs, whereas others remained caught in neighborhoods declining on account of redlining. At 113,000 individuals, Peoria is a midsized metropolis, not a big city middle like Seattle, Boston, or Dallas, and it doesn’t have a giant metropolis’s political or philanthropic base. However hometown boosters together with Theodore Hoerr, ASLA, of the New York-based panorama structure and concrete design agency Terrain Work, imagine a freeway deck park might do greater than knit town’s scars. “I might argue it might rework the trajectory of downtown Peoria and town itself,” Hoerr says.
Hoerr grew up on a household nursery with a design/construct enterprise not far exterior Peoria and maintains shut ties to the place, together with some initiatives. He had been engaged on a grasp plan for the Peoria Riverfront Museum and had moved house for the summer time in the course of the pandemic when he linked up with Kim Blickenstaff of KDB Group. Blickenstaff knew of Klyde Warren Park and had been websites round I-74. Ideas for the deck park got here collectively rapidly, adopted by a group engagement marketing campaign that started to develop the park’s programming and goal.
The proposal, referred to as InterPlay Park, emphasizes cross-generational play. A number of program areas, referred to as Molecules, thread the needle of being simply designed sufficient to spark curiosity whereas remaining open and versatile to permit native nonprofit teams to adapt them. Hoerr says the park additionally has in thoughts the wants of the rising demographic of older adults and sees alternatives to mix actions for each elders and youth. The proposal has picked up political goodwill rapidly, together with curiosity from the previous U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, who has dedicated to throwing his political capital behind the challenge. The challenges of getting liftoff for an formidable deck park in a struggling midsized metropolis would require state and regional buy-in, however Hoerr says he believes the challenge needs to be seen as greater than an area amenity. “It’s really a park that helps form the id of the area—entice households, entice companies, and assist prop up all Peorians.”