Amin Omidy Named New Trustee for the Louisville Olmsted Parks Conservancy

LOUISVILLE, Ky (August 27, 2020)-  Amin Omidy, senior landscape architect in our Louisville office, has been named as a new Trustee for the Olmsted Parks Conservancy to help guide and fulfill the organization’s mission.

Louisville Olmsted Parks Conservancy, Inc., a non-profit organization, was established in 1989 to restore, enhance and forever protect Louisville’s historic 17 Olmsted Parks and 6 Parkways. Over the past 30 years, Olmsted Parks Conservancy has overseen $40,000,000 in capital investment in our Olmsted Parks and Parkways. And thanks to financial support from our 1,800 members, we’ve been able  to work in the parks on a daily basis, spending 125,000 hours (a value of $4,702,090) maintaining natural areas through our Team for Healthy Parks and the 1,100 annual volunteers in our Volunteer Program.

This is a wonderful opportunity for Amin who is passionate about the role parks play in creating spaces for all to enjoy their environment. Amin will be assisting the Olmsted Parks Conservancy by lending his expertise in park planning design is a member of the Park Planning Committee.

“Our Olmsted Parks play a vital role in ensuring all Louisville residents–regardless of race, income, or background–have easy access to vibrant greenspaces to maintain their mental and physical health,” said Layla George, President and CEO of Olmsted Parks Conservancy. “Our Board of Trustees are vital in the process of developing our strategic plan and determining what projects and programs will make the biggest impact in our community. Most importantly, our Board of Trustees steers the organization–driving us forward while ensuring Olmsted Parks Conservancy continues to enhance, restore, and protect Louisville’s Olmsted Parks and Parkways for decades to come.”

“We are grateful and thrilled that Amin is joining the Board of Trustees,” George continued. “His experience in landscape architecture and planning is a huge asset to our organization. Amin’s passion, dedication, and perspective has already helped us navigate complicated project proposals and adapt our Master Planning process during the pandemic so we can continue to connect nature and neighborhood.”

Please join us in congratulating Amin on this significant appointment.

North Split Aesthetics Design Guidelines Recognized by the Indiana Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects

INDIANAPOLIS, In. (August 12, 2020)- The Indiana Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (INASLA) has announced the recipients of their 2020 Professional  Awards. Each year, INASLA recognizes outstanding works of landscape architecture in the State of Indiana. These awards recognize standards of excellence in the profession and seeks to raise the public awareness of the profession and the American Society of Landscape Architects.  This year, INASLA recognized 14 projects across the state of Indiana, including a Merit Award in the Planning and Analysis category for the North Split Aesthetic Design Guidelines in Indianapolis.

The North Split Project is an upgrade of the existing interchange where I-65 and I-70 meet on the northeast side of downtown Indianapolis. As part of this infrastructure project, the Indiana Department of Transportation facilitated a Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) process that created the Aesthetic Design Guidelines to be utilized as a resource tool during the interchange replacement project.  The CSS process followed the guidelines of the FHWA that involved a collaborative, interdisciplinary decision making process and design approach that involved a wide range of stakeholders to develop a transportation facility that fits its physical setting.  Elements that were examined as part of the CSS process included: 1) landform elements, 2) local infrastructure elements, 3) interchange infrastructure elements, 4) vegetation elements and 5) community and public art components

The CSS process engaged key neighborhoods and other stakeholders to examine connectivity, character and theme related to the North Split project.  The Aesthetic Design Guidelines direct the overall appearance of new North Split infrastructure and other features within the project area, with special emphasis on integrating the interchange design into the urban setting of adjacent neighborhoods and downtown Indianapolis. The document provides specific guidance to the North Split design-build team on key enhancements to improve connectivity, create an enhanced pedestrian environment, and integrate the aesthetic character of the project into the surrounding area.

The design guidelines outline the treatment for a variety of aesthetic structural treatments, such as bridge abutments, piers, columns, retaining walls, sound walls and fencing.   In addition, they outline a series of landscape typologies for the various planting applications. These typologies included treatments for slope areas, interchange plantings as well as detention areas.  Finally, a series of additional community features, such as the creation of the new Monon Loop trail, were identified that enhances the overall connectivity between the local neighborhoods and the existing Monon Trail.

The North Split Aesthetic Design Guidelines provides a significant tool for the reconstruction of the I-65/I-70 Interchange in downtown Indianapolis.  The final document provides the contractor and design build team with key guidance related to the amenities and design features of this multi-million-dollar investment.  The end result provides a tangible solution that documents community concerns and translates the top priorities related to safety, connectivity and design standards into a user-friendly plan that can be utilized during the final design for the interchange.

The INASLA Awards were presented during a virtual presentation on August 12, 2020 as part of INASLA’s 2020 Annual Meeting.

 

Client:  Indiana Department of Transportation

Consultants:

HNTB Corporation- Indianapolis, IN (Project Management, Engineering);

Taylor Siefker Williams Design Group- Indianapolis, IN (Landscape Architecture)

Fourth Street Resiliency Plan Recognized by the Indiana Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects

INDIANAPOLIS, In. (August 12, 2020)- The Indiana Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (INASLA) has announced the recipients of their 2020 Professional Awards. Each year, INASLA recognizes outstanding works of landscape architecture in the State of Indiana. These awards recognize standards of excellence in the profession and seeks to raise the public awareness of the profession and the American Society of Landscape Architects.  This year, INASLA recognized 14 projects across the state of Indiana, including a Merit Award in the Planning and Analysis category for the Fourth Street Resiliency Plan in Huntingburg, Indiana.

Project Purpose: The Covid-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on local economies around the world.  The spread of the virus, mandated closing of businesses, and continued need for social distancing has created extreme stresses on businesses, especially small businesses, and has pushed local economies to the point where many small businesses face the prospect of closing for good.  In an April 2020 Main Street America poll, 6% of business owners indicated that their business was at risk of closing permanently within the next 30 days, and 26% indicated that their business was at risk of closing permanently in the next 1-2 months. This has been particularly challenging for small rural Indiana communities where small businesses make up a majority of their local economy.

In Huntingburg, Indiana, population 6500, Fourth Street is the community’s downtown commercial district. There are 35 local businesses along the two-block central business district with nearly all of the businesses falling within the Small Business Administration’s category for 1-4 employees.  In mid-March, nearly every business on Fourth Street was required by the State of Indiana to close or greatly limit their business capacity.  This closure lasted for 69 days throughout March and April 2020 with an estimated impact of $2.596 million, or $74,175 lost revenue per business, nearly 20% of their average annual revenue.

The State of Indiana has initiated a five-stage procedure for gradually reopening Indiana businesses.  According to current regulations, Dubois County and much of Indiana reached Stage 3 on May 24 which allows restaurants to operate at 50% capacity and retail services to operate at 75% capacity.  These limitations remain in place, in some fashion, until Stage 5, which is currently set for July 4, 2020.

In 2016-2018, the City of Huntingburg, with its design partners Taylor Siefker Williams Desing Group and VS Engineering,  undertook a redesign of the two-block downtown historic district to create a “curbless street concept” which would allow greater flexibility in being able to use the street as an extension of downtown businesses. While addressing flooding issues and other infrastructure needs, the design sought to enhance the downtown marketplace feel of Fourth Street and provide options for outdoor dining and shops as part of an overall enhancement of the street.  The redesign was completed in 2019, but the City chose to delay any “flexing” of the street for one year to allow residents to get used to the new traffic configuration, to develop the guidelines and policies that will be used to govern business use of Fourth Street, and to take further design action to design and procure the barriers, tables, and other enhancements necessary to “flex the street.”

Taylor Siefker Williams Design Group undertook this study as a week-long virtual charette study.  In conversations with local officials, it was clear that there was tremendous pressure to find a way to increase local business capacities and assist local businesses with reopening.  The result was a white paper titled the Fourth Street Resiliency Plan- A Look at How to Keep Fourth Street Healthy, Safe and Open for Business and served as a decision-piece to assist local community officials with options for quickly activating the street and the health, business, and political impacts of doing so.  The intent was to provide decision makers with the resources necessary to make quick decisions and implement an expedited reopening plan for the period between June 5- July 5, 2020.

It was determined that any decision making must be evaluated through three different lenses:

  • Health impact- what are the health risks of increasing business capacity during the restricted period?
  • Business impact- what are the costs and potential business impacts associated with each option?
  • Political impact- what are the potential risks and public perceptions of enacting each scenario?

Quick research steps and analysis were performed for each category to establish a baseline condition from which each potential solution could be evaluated.  Health statistics and Dubois County’s recent spike in Covid-19 cases were used to project potential health impacts and health red flags.  Business impacts were projected to analyze the amount of potential impact that might be expected from each scenario, with that data cross referenced to expected expenses and cost-to-benefit ratios.  And known public policy perceptions from the previous design work were gathered and used to project the public’s openness to each concept.

Six different scenarios were developed for quickly transforming the street.  Each scenario explored different layout options, durations, and typical layouts.  Some options explored a limited weekend or daily closure of the street.  Some options explore a 30-day closure until Stage 5 is met, including a tactical urbanism approach, and one option looked at very limited solutions just for the five restaurant businesses along Fourth Street.  These scenarios were developed to begin to provide some thought to how the street can accommodate increased capacity for the business district without closing the entire street.  It is thought that if the temporary closure is successful, the second block can be opened to similar modifications.  Because of the quick turnaround time for implementation, it is important to note that none of the solutions involved permanent construction and were intended solely as a temporary adjustment through Stage 5 of the Indiana business reopening requirements.

Each scenario was analyzed in terms of its costs, business impact, health impact, and political impact.  Costs for implementation included City staff labor hours (no new purchases are proposed for this temporary adjustment) for closing the street and implementing the closure.

Anticipated business impact was calculated for each scenario based upon the average daily small business revenue increases in shifting restaurant capacity from 50% to 75% and retail capacity from 75% to 90% for the scenario duration.  A comparison of the costs to implement versus the projected business impact results in a cost-to-benefit index and the total potential expected revenue that could be generated for this action.

Finally, a risk comparison was included that identified the level of risk from the health perspective, business impact perspective, and political perspective.

At the conclusion of the study, the white paper was presented to the Mayor and City officials as a tool for their decision making.

The INASLA Awards were presented during a virtual presentation on August 12, 2020 as part of INASLA’s 2020 Annual Meeting.

Client: City of Huntingburg, Indiana

Consultants:       Taylor Siefker Williams Design Group- Indianapolis, IN

Taylor Siefker Williams Design Group Awarded Three 2020 INASLA Awards

INDIANAPOLIS, In. (August 12, 2020)- Today, the Indiana Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects announced the recipients of their 2020 Design Awards.  We are pleased to share that Taylor Siefker Williams Design Group has three projects being recognized.  Each year the Indiana Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (INASLA) recognizes outstanding projects completed by individuals or organizations located in the State of Indiana. These awards are given in an effort to raise standards of excellence, heighten public appreciation of quality landscape architecture, and expand public awareness of the profession and ASLA.

The Taylor Siefker Williams Design Group projects being recognized for 2020 include:

Indianapolis Greenways Partnership: Pilot Programming ProjectIndianapolis, IN- Honor Award, Communications.

This category recognizes achievements in communicating landscape architecture information, technology, theory, or practice to those within or outside the profession.  The Indianapolis Greenways Partnership, a partnership between Indianapolis Parks Foundation, the City of Indianapolis, and Taylor Siefker Williams Design Group, was established to promote awareness and engagement with the Indianapolis Greenways System.  The Partnership’s efforts are based upon the premise that providing broad opportunities for residents to engage with the greenways helps to build lifelong advocates, support, and demand for continued investment in the greenway system, especially with underserved user groups.  In 2018-2019, the Partnership undertook a 12-month pilot project which included over 22 programs that provided meaningful engagement opportunities for users of all ages, incomes, and demographic types.  Programs were developed, facilitated, and documented in the areas of Health, Fitness & Wellbeing; Cultural Enrichment & Engagement; Education & Awareness; and Commercial Engagement. For more information about the Indianapolis Greenways Partnership or to review the final report from the 12-month pilot project, visit the Greenways Partnership website at www.greenwayspartnership.com.

Fourth Street Resiliency Plan- A Look at How to Keep Fourth Street Healthy, Safe and Open for Business- Huntingburg, IN- Merit Award, Planning & Analysis.

This category recognizes the wide variety of professional activities that lead to, guide, or evaluate landscape architectural  design. The Covid-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on local economies around the world.  The spread of the virus, mandated closing of businesses, and continued need for social distancing has created extreme stresses on small businesses.  In Huntingburg, Indiana, population 6500, Fourth Street is the community’s downtown commercial district. In mid-March, nearly all of the 35 businesses on Fourth Street was required by the State of Indiana to close or greatly limit their business capacity.  This closure lasted for 69 days throughout March and April 2020 with an estimated impact of $2.596 million, or $74,175 lost revenue per business, nearly 20% of their average annual revenue. This plan was a week-long virtual charette study. The intent was to provide decision makers with the resources necessary to make quick decisions and implement an expedited reopening plan for June 5-July 5, 2020. The Fourth Street Resiliency Plan can be viewed at the following link: Final White Paper.

North Split Context Sensitive Solutions Aesthetic Design GuidelinesIndianapolis, IN- Merit Award, Planning & Analysis.

This category recognizes the wide variety of professional activities that lead to, guide, or evaluate landscape architectural  design.  The North Split Project is an upgrade of the existing interchange where I-65 and I-70 meet on the northeast side of downtown Indianapolis. As part of this infrastructure project, the Indiana Department of Transportation facilitated a Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) process that created the Aesthetic Design Guidelines to be utilized as a resource tool during the interchange replacement project.  The CSS process followed the guidelines of the FHWA that involved a collaborative, interdisciplinary decision making process and design approach that involved a wide range of stakeholders to develop a transportation facility that fits its physical setting. The Aesthetic Design Guidelines direct the overall appearance of new North Split infrastructure and other features within the project area, with special emphasis on integrating the interchange design into the urban setting of adjacent neighborhoods and downtown Indianapolis.  To view the North Split Aesthetic Design Guidelines, visit the North Split website at https://northsplit.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/North-Split-Aesthetic-Design-Guidelines.pdf.

While we always strive to bring value to our clients by providing the highest level of thought leadership, planning and design, the design awards provide an opportunity for peer professional review of the work we do and we are always appreciative to be recognized in these ways.  Congratulations to our staff, our partner consultants, and our clients on being recognized with these awards!

Giving Back to our Communities

Giving Back Images- FINAL

Each year we work with communities across the Midwest to help them develop steps and strategies to make a positive impact in their community. We use our professional experience and expertise to help communities develop plans that help enrich and activate their communities.  We spend a lot of time talking with community leaders and residents about improving the communities where they live work and play.  What we don’t talk about, as much, are the many company and staff efforts we make to give back to our local communities.  Just as we advise, our staff gives back many hours of community service and volunteering in our own communities with the idea that we can make our home communities even stronger places.

This service takes on many different forms.  Sometimes, it is financial or in-kind support for major community initiatives.  Sometimes it is the volunteering of time for professional service to our local or national professional organizations.  Sometimes, it is community service on boards and commissions.  And sometimes, it is volunteering for local community organizations that our family or friends are involved in. As a company, we pride ourselves on encouraging our staff to be active participants in their community—to lead through example, to give back, and most of all, make a difference in the communities where they live.

This year, Taylor Siefker Williams Design Group invested in over 15 different community organizations that contribute to improving the quality of life in our home communities.  Our staff served on the boards, committees, or in elected positions on over 18 local boards ranging from elected and appointed positions, to professional societies, to home owner associations.  And in all, our staff has served over 1300 hours of service to our various communities in 2019. We don’t often share these efforts from the more personal side of the company, but feel that recognition is warranted for the significant community engagement activities of our employees, especially in this season of giving.

We are excited about the great things we have accomplished in 2019 and look forward to another year of giving in 2020!

Taylor Siefker Williams Design Group’s Community Service and Giving- 2019

Financial and In-kind Services

  • Accelerating Indiana Municipalities
  • Art Spaces- Terre Haute
  • Ball State University Architecture Department
  • Ball State University Landscape Architecture Department
  • Friends of the Ohio River Greenway
  • Indiana Parks and Recreation Association
  • Indianapolis Children’s Choir
  • Indianapolis Greenways Partnership
  • Indianapolis Parks Foundation
  • Jasper Champions Little League Baseball Field Design
  • Kennedy-King Memorial Initiative
  • Near East Area Redevelopment
  • Northside Soccer- Indianapolis
  • Olmsted Parks Conservancy
  • River Hills Regional Planning Agency

Service- Appointed/elected Boards

  • Butchertown Architecture Review Committee (Louisville)- Amin Omidy
  • Devonshire Civic Association- Ron Taylor, President
  • Friends of the Ohio River Greenway Board of Directors- Amy Williams
  • Indianapolis Greenways Development Committee- Ron Taylor, Chair
  • Indy Greenways Partnership- Ron Taylor, Scott Siefker, Sam Wiser
  • Louisville Energy Alliance Board of Directors- Amy Williams
  • Louisville Historic Landmarks Commission- Amin Omidy
  • New Albany, IN Planning Commission- Haley James
  • Northpoint Village Townhomes HOA – Scott Siefker, President
  • Olmsted Parks Conservancy Board of Directors, Louisville, KY- Amin Omidy
  • Plainfield Design Review Committee – Luke Waltz
  • Sustainable Housing Development (SHD) Exploratory Team- Luke Waltz

Professional Service

  • American Planning Association, Indiana Chapter- Haley James, Sponsorship Chair
  • American Planning Association, Kentucky Chapter- Amy Williams, Fellows Nomination State Committee Chair
  • American Planning Association, Kentucky Chapter- Haley James, Conference Planning/Social Media Chair
  • American Society of Landscape Architects, Indiana Chapter- Awards Committee- Katie Clark, Scott Siefker
  • American Society of Landscape Architects, Indiana Chapter- Fellows Committee- Katie Clark, Scott Siefker, Ron Taylor
  • American society of Landscape Architects- National Member Services Committee- Katie Clark
  • American Society of Landscape Architects, Kentucky Chapter- Amin Omidy

Mentoring

  • Ball State University – Plan 100 Guest Lecturer & Plan 451 Guest Lecturer- Haley James
  • Ball State University CAP/Landscape Architecture/Architecture Studio Host- Scott Siefker
  • Carmel Youth Assistance Program- Katie Clark
  • CNU Louisville – Volunteer Coordinator- Haley James
  • Herron High School – Internship Mentor Program- Scott Siefker
  • University of Kentucky Landscape Architecture Program- Amin Omidy

Community Service and Personal Investment

  • Bolt for the Heart 5K- Katie Clark
  • Boy Scouts of America- Ron Taylor
  • Carmel High School Marching Band- Katie Clark
  • Carmel Dad’s Club- Katie and Greg Clark
  • Girl Scouts of America- Ron Taylor
  • Global 6k for Water Community Outreach Event- Luke Walz
  • Hope Redefined IMS Coke Lot Hotdog Community Outreach Event- Luke Waltz
  • Keep Indianapolis Beautiful Great Indy Clean up- Ron Taylor
  • Northside Soccer Board of Directors- Ron Taylor
  • Northside Soccer- Coach- Ron Taylor
  • Operation Backpack Community Outreach Event- Luke Waltz
  • Vertical Church Facilities and Redesign Coordination- Luke Waltz
  • Vertical Church Volunteer and Coordinator, Plainfield, IN- Luke Waltz
  • Vertical Church Men’s Group Leader- Luke Waltz
  • YMCA Youth Soccer Program- Coach- Amy Williams

Haley James, AICP named KY-APA’s 2019 Outstanding Young Planner

Haley James B&W-croppedHaley James, AICP has been recognized as the 2019 Outstanding Young Planner by the Kentucky Chapter of the American Planning Association.  Haley was presented the award at the KY-APA Spring Conference today at Lake Cumberland State Park . The recognition honors young planning professionals who are in their first five years of practice who have demonstrated extraordinary commitment to leadership, professional development, and advancement of the planning profession. 

Haley is an AICP planner with Taylor Siefker Williams Design Group in Louisville. She has a Bachelor’s of Urban Development & Planning from Ball State University and started with the company out of college in January of 2015. Over the past four years, Haley has become a key member of our community planning team and is invaluable to the communities we serve.

As Haley began her planning career, she jumped into the profession with enthusiasm, professionalism and a strong desire to learn. These qualities combined with her outstanding technical skills and ability to master new skills quickly allowed her to take a fast-paced career path that outshines many professionals with her experience level. During her first few years of practice she took every opportunity to grow her career from both a technical and personal perspective.

Haley has consistently volunteered to take on larger tasks that many young planners might be daunted by and always puts in the extra effort needed to make sure her work is completed to the highest level. She is not intimidated by areas of the practice that are outside of her comfort zone and always has a respect for making sure she can complete these tasks with accuracy and creativity. Within our company, she has soared in her career growth that is unparalleled. As a newly accredited AICP planner, she not only can lead production on multiple types of planning assignments but she also now manages multiple comprehensive plans for a variety of communities. The planning profession is stronger because of Haley.

Haley has not only created implementable, creative and visionary plans for dozens of communities, she also has become a trusted advisor to many of our communities. Haley is able to prove her technical abilities through her work and provide solutions to planning problems that are creative yet practical. Through this work, many of our communities we serve strongly rely on Haley’s ideas and opinions. One example is Corydon, Indiana. Haley helped to write the comprehensive plan for Corydon in 2015 as she started her career. She provided creative ways to help simplify planning concepts so they could be easily understood by the community partners. She then was able to help our planning team complete a downtown focus plan and strategic investment plan for Corydon that has now resulted in almost $30 million in investment in this small town. Corydon has been a consistent community we’ve served since Haley has started her career and the Town Council and town staff rely on her for many important tasks. The communities we serve are stronger because of Haley.

Haley has not stopped with accelerating her career from just a technical perspective. She has also immersed herself into her community to foster personal growth and build professional relationships through multiple organizations. Haley immediately became active in the Young Professional Association of Louisville (YPAL) by serving on their executive committee as the Director of Professional Development (2016-2017) and currently serves as the Vice President of Programming. She also became active in APA-KY by being an active volunteer on the Conferences Committee for the past 3 years. Currently Haley also sits on the Greater Louisville Inc. Talent Attraction Steering Committee and is also a citizen representative for the New Albany Planning Commission. Haley has a strong sense of responsibility to give back to her profession and community. Our professional organizations and our local community are stronger because of Haley.

According to TSWDG Principal Amy Williams, AICP, “I cannot imagine my professional life without Haley. She is the consistent rock that I rely upon daily, from leading production tasks to helping to manage clients to keeping me organized. I’m more than impressed with her abilities and growth as a young professional. She has exceeded any expectations I would have ever had for someone of her experience level and I have to consistently remind myself that she isn’t a peer with two or three times her experience. I cannot wait to see what she is able to accomplish in the next few years and I’m confident she will conquer anything she sets out to do with her career.”

Taylor Siefker Williams Design Group is proud to have Haley recognized with this impressive honor!

The Idea of Market Street Park

Market Street Park in Huntingburg, Indiana was formally dedicated on Friday, October 12, 2018 and hosted its inaugural event over the weekend of October 13.  Below are remarks made by TSWDG Principal Ron Taylor, FASLA during the dedication ceremony.

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Good afternoon.  I am humbled that Mayor Spinner asked me to say a few words.  As the landscape architecture and design firm for the park, we tend to do a lot of talking through the design process, helping to steer the community’s vision and give form to their ideas. But when we reach this point, we usually tend to fade to the background.

Today is the community’s day—the day that Huntingburg gets to take ownership of its newest park and see the results of all of their visioning and hard work.  So I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to say a few words and share a few thoughts with you today.

On behalf of Taylor Siefker Williams Design Group, our principals, our staff, and our many other consultants who worked on this project, welcome to Market Street Park!

When the community first began exploring the idea of pursuing the stellar designation, there was this Idea of Market Street ParkCommunity leaders had a vision for a central gathering space that would bring residents and visitors alike to downtown.

During the early community listening sessions, residents gravitated to the Idea of Market Street Park as they thought through the types of things it would provide them in their everyday lives.

Local businesses embraced the Idea of Market Street Park, understanding the impact that this space would have on retaining the best and the brightest employees and creating a unique space that defined not only the quality of life for their employees but also helping to define their core community business principals in the community they call home.

And throughout the design process, we worked with a technical committee of local residents who clearly understood the Idea of Market Street Park.  Technical committee discussions of bricks and mortar, form and function, never veered too far from the park’s overall purpose and vision.

While no one knew the exact final form this park would take when we began the design process, the community had the Idea of Market Street Park and an unwavering expectation of what this space had to be for the community.

Today, we get our first glimpse of that idea!

Today, we can, for the first time, see and touch the physical forms that are a result of the community’s work over the last four years.

From a design perspective, the Idea of Market Street Park is bigger than its bricks and mortar. Its more about what this space can mean for the community.

Progressive communities around the world have focused on creating unique outdoor spaces that help define their culture, provide residents with unique opportunities, and improve the overall daily experience and quality of life in their community.  Often, these spaces end up defining the community.

New York has Central Park. Indianapolis has Monument Circle.  Even in smaller communities across Indiana, the courthouse square often serves as the heart of those communities.

Residents and community leaders here understood the need for a central gathering space in the community and understood what a downtown park would mean for Huntingburg.

This park will now become the signature gathering space in Huntingburg.

Its design is unique—the result of a collaborative design process with community residents and leaders.  There is no other place like this in the world. The park’s spaces and circulation routes were designed specifically for this community and for the community’s vision of how this space could serve Huntingburg’s needs.

The park provides a contemporary, forward-looking expression that pays honor to the building behind me, Old Town Hall, the symbol of this great community.  Throughout its three acres, the walks and structures help to frame views and reinforce the importance of this structure, while providing unique spaces and experiences for today’s park users.

The space is meant to provide the setting for Huntingburg’s festivals, while also providing a quiet place for everyday activities in the heart of the community. Tomorrow, the German-American Pavilon will come alive with Blues music.  In the summer months, the Farmers Market Pavilion at Menke Plaza will fill with residents on Market Day providing a source of locally-produced fresh food and a place for neighbors to greet one another.  And each Spring, the Farbest Foods Common with spring to life as the center of the Community’s Garden Gate Festival.

But these aren’t the only uses of this park.

The Park will provide a place for residents to stroll and enjoy a casual lunch hour.  It will provide a quiet place for contemplation.  It will provide a place for residents to meet and hang out downtown.  It will provide shoppers along Fourth Street with a place to take a break and relax.  And this park will ultimately be the signature symbol of this community.

Market Street Park will be Huntingburg’s new Town Square!

Community leaders and the residents who were engaged in the design process understood this. They understood the Idea of Market Street Park and what it could mean to the community. And today, we celebrate that idea!

As I think back to when this all started, and think about the many community conversations with residents, I’m left with a couple of my own thoughts about this Idea of Market Street Park.

Over the last four years, I have seen how this community thinks—how it responds to its residents.

I have seen how this community embraces its heritage and history while keeping an eye on the future.

You don’t have to be in Huntingburg long before you understand the pride and ownership this community takes in ensuring that Huntingburg is a unique and welcoming place.

And I have seen the City’s dedication to creating a community where younger people want to stay and thrive.

I believe that this Park symbolizes all of these things well.

When I think about what this park will be, a couple of things come to mind.

I suspect that sometime this weekend, a grandparent or parent will sit on the community swings with a child and share a story about what it was like to grow up in Huntingburg, or share the history of Old Town Hall.

Somewhere in this park, two kids will fall in love and decide to spend the rest of their lives together—maybe even getting married right here in the park.

I imaging that people will come here for family photos or senior pictures, using this great structure and the park as the ideal setting to capture images of their life.

I suspect that this park will play host to many Raider State Championship Victory celebrations in the coming years as well as school plays or band performances.

I suspect there will be community gatherings and rallies here that fill the park.

And I suspect that this community will find ways to use these great new park features that have not even been imagined yet.

And most importantly, beginning today, I think a whole new generation of Huntingburg residents will have their lasting, lifelong memories of growing up in Huntingburg shaped by the activities that take place in this park.

To me, that is what the Idea of Market Street Park is all about.

Congratulations to the community and welcome to Market Street Park!

 

 

Letter to our Clients Concerning President Trump’s Proposed 2018 Budget

100_2711This week we got our first look at the new federal budget proposed by the Trump Administration, and like many other businesses and organizations, have concerns about many of the critical federal programs being eliminated.  Recent focus on deregulation, the executive order reorganizing the federal oversight structure, and now the proposed elimination of so many critical funding programs that local communities leverage in their work causes us great concern, both as a small business as well as members of the communities where we work and live. As we look across our list of current projects, we see many projects that would not be occurring without these key funding programs, and we see many Indiana and Kentucky cities and towns that would lose the ability to do the things that are so vital to their ongoing efforts to improve their communities.  Like others, we are still trying to understand the details of this proposed budget and we will work to contact our local and congressional representatives to ensure that they have a full understanding of the detrimental impacts that will result if the budget passes as proposed.   Below are statements released by the American Planning Association and the American Society of Landscape Architects that detail the areas of concern which are being raised by the planning and landscape architecture professions.  We encourage our clients to spend the time necessary to understand these impacts and to work with their local and state representatives to ensure that Kentucky and Indiana’s congressional delegations understand how important these programs are to local communities.

APA Statement on FY 2018 Federal Budget Proposal

American Planning Association, Washington DC

The federal budget proposal released today utterly fails to meet the needs of the nation’s communities. If the proposed cuts to essential community development, housing, and transportation programs are enacted, communities across the nation would face serious threats to economic growth and prosperity. At a time when cities and towns face significant challenges to infrastructure investment, affordable housing, and economic development, the elimination of critical and proven federal programs is damaging and unacceptable.

The budget sent to Congress today would eliminate several critical programs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, including Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), HOME, and Choice Neighborhoods. In addition, the budget would end support for New Starts transit funding, TIGER grants for key transportation projects, and the Economic Development Administration.

These programs are the foundation of locally led efforts to build stronger, more just, and more prosperous communities. They not only have a proven track record of success and bipartisan support but also act as tools for leveraging private sector investments. The irresponsible cuts in this budget also make our communities more vulnerable and less safe with cuts to coastal mapping and resiliency efforts and the elimination of pre-disaster mitigation planning grants.

Simply put, the scope of these cuts places jobs, development projects, and public health at risk. Further, the proposed changes threaten to undermine expressed priorities of President Trump, ranging from infrastructure investment to boosting growth and jobs.

Planners stand ready to work with Congress and the Administration on policies and programs that will strengthen communities. This budget would take the country in the opposite direction. The elimination of federal programs that help communities plan and prosper will harm essential local housing, transportation, and economic development priorities. They will weaken job creation, hinder private sector growth and investment, and slow efforts to expand opportunity.

APA opposes efforts in this budget that undermine local community development. In particular, APA strongly rejects any effort to eliminate key programs like CDBG, HOME, Choice Neighborhoods, TIGER grants, and transit assistance. Now is the time for federal partners to assist communities in creating stronger and more economically vibrant places. However, this budget moves the nation in the opposite direction. APA calls on Congress to reject these cuts and support essential investments in the future of our communities.

ASLA Statement on Trump Administration FY2018 Budget Blueprint

American Society of Landscape Architects- Washington, DC

On March 16, the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) released this statement in response to President Trump’s 2018 budget proposal:

“We are disappointed with President Trump’s budget blueprint, which calls for dramatic cuts to many of the federal programs and resources that strengthen our nation’s infrastructure and economic development.

President Trump’s recommendation to completely eliminate two critical community development programs, the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program and the Transportation Infrastructure Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants program, is short-sighted. TIGER has been one of the most successful and popular programs with policymakers, communities and transportation planners like landscape architects – the number of applications far exceeding the amount of available funding.

ASLA is also extremely concerned that President Trump’s proposal would drastically reduce funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by a staggering 31 percent, thereby severely crippling key air and water quality programs and critical climate change research and resources. The budget recommendation purports to increase funding for EPA’s Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Funds by $4 million.  However, the budget also eliminates $498 million from U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Water and Wastewater loan and grant program and instead recommends that rural communities access EPA’s State Revolving Funds, thus leaving State Revolving Funds with a $494 million reduction in funding. 

The Society recently released recommendations for updating and strengthening all forms of infrastructure, including enhancing the Transportation Infrastructure Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants program, expanding State Revolving Funds, increasing funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and others. Together, these recommendations will help provide communities with the much-needed infrastructure upgrades to become more livable and resilient places to live, work and recreate.  Unfortunately, if enacted, this Trump budget proposal would leave many communities vulnerable.

We understand that this proposal is the start of a long legislative process. The Society will continue to work with legislators to ensure that funding is available for sound infrastructure solutions that American communities are demanding.”

A Special Message to our Families, Clients and Colleagues on TSWDG’s 5th Anniversary

ben wedding and tswdg holiday 2015 085Today, Taylor Siefker Williams Design Group is celebrating our 5th Anniversary and we wanted to take a moment to reflect and to thank our staff, family, friends, and colleagues who have supported us and  helped to make the firm a success.  We started this endeavor five years ago with the notion that we could make a difference in the communities where we work and live.  We believed that our creative and collaborative approach to planning and design would be welcomed in communities across Indiana and Kentucky and  that we could truly help to improve the quality of life in communities.  We wanted to be engaged in our local communities, invested in the places we lived, and to be active leaders in our home communities.  And we wanted  the firm to be a place that fostered new ideas and creativity, attracted bright and creative individuals, and garnered credibility and recognition based upon our investment, passion, and engagement.  As we take an opportunity to look back over the last five years, we would like to believe that we are off to a successful start in many of the things we had hoped to do when we started TSWDG.

Some of our notable accomplishments over the last five years include:

  • In the past five years, we have worked in over 30 communities in Indiana and Kentucky.
  • We have focused our marketing efforts on projects that truly impact the communities where we work, and we have developed clients we’re proud to partner with.
  • We have worked on over 45 projects in the last five years and have had several repeat clients or several projects from the same client.
  • Our work has spanned the urban design and planning spectrum from community comprehensive plans, to master planning, to design and construction.
  • We have grown from one office in a business incubator in Louisville to two fully-functional offices in Louisville and Indianapolis and are about to expand again with membership in Current Blend, a work co-op space in Huntingburg to support the stellar efforts there.
  • We have doubled in size from three to six employees, and anticipate additional growth in the coming weeks.
  • Our sales and revenues have steadily grown in each of the years since our inception, building to a record high in 2016.
  • And we have received recognitions and awards for both our projects and our personnel.

We are proud of what has been accomplished over our short five years, and are excited by what we see happening with the firm as we begin our 6th year.  To date, 2016 is proving to be our best year ever:

  • Our relationship building is resulting in continual repeat commissions with several clients demonstrating that the relationships we continue to build are leveraging strong and lastinngn relationships.
  • The approval of our Fourth Street project in Huntingburg last week was our largest sale to date for the firm (unseating the Indy Greenways Master Plan).
  • In 2016, we have nearly doubled our sales from 2015 (get ready to get busy!).
  • We have continued to be recognized with design awards and other recognitions that have solidified our place within the industry and made the firm a credible contender in many of our areas of practice. We also were recently nominated for the Inc.Credible Awards from Greater Louisville, Inc. recognizing up and coming businesses in the Louisville area.
  • Our staff continues to be recognized for their professional distinctions including Haley’s recent inclusion in the “45 most influential members of the Young Professionals Association of Louisville’s Insider 502 program,” Scott’s upcoming election to Fellowship with the American Society of Landscape Architects, and Liz receiving her landscape architecture license just this week (BTW- that means we also have  doubled our number of licensed landscape architects in the firm).
  • And we have continued to develop and deliver creative and sound solutions and products on all of our work.

While we are proud of these successes,   we are particularly proud of the investment TSWDG and its staff have all made in our communities.  We are investing in our communities through volunteer service such as Kris’ artistic endeavors with Indy Parks and the City of Indianapolis, and Liz’s work with Relay for Life and the Bone Marrow Registry.  We are investing in community programs with efforts such as our sponsorship of Northside Soccer in Indianapolis, our ongoing conversations with the Indianapolis Parks Foundation about programming for the elderly and disadvantaged on Indy’s greenways, our membership with One Southern Indiana, and our sponsorship of the Southern Indiana Mayor’s Roundtable.  And we are invested in our professions with  engagement such  Haley’s involvement with YPAL, Amy’s leadership in APA and the Friends of the Ohio River Greenways, and Liz and Kris’s service on the INASLA Executive Committee. Each member of the firm  brings a passion that reflects the type of success and character we want to be known for, and we are proud to be so engaged in the communities where we work and live.

Over the past five years, we have been privileged to work with some amazing communities, wonderful clients, and creative landscape architects and planners. Thanks to all of our families, clients and colleagues for your support over the last five years. As we move into year six, we continue to be excited about the firm and about the opportunities that still await all of us.

10 Parks that Changed Indianapolis

The new PBS series “10 that Changed America” is a whirlwind tour of America’s architectural treasures: including great homes like Fallingwater and Monticello, masterpieces of landscape architecture like Central Park and the High Line, and triumphs of town planning like Philadelphia and Portland. Each episode stops by 10 places that changed the nation. With the upcoming premier of 10 Parks that Changed America, we asked our landscape architects and planners at Taylor Siefker Williams Design Group to identify the 10 significant parks in Indianapolis that helped, shaped or changed the City. See if you agree.  Here they are (in no particular order):

Garfield Park

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The oldest park in the Indy Parks system, it was the city’s first step in creating public open space. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Monon Rail-Trail

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While not the first trail built as part of the Indy Greenways system, development of this trail certainly put Indy Greenways on the map.

Eagle Creek Park

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Eagle Creek remains one of the largest municipal park in the country and provides residents with an experience usually reserved for larger state or national parks.

Martin Luther King Jr. Park

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Forever linked to a specific point in history, the park is significant because of Robert Kennedy’s speech on the day of the Martin Luther King assassination.  The events that day in this park prevented the city of Indianapolis from the unrest seen across the United States.

White River State Park

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This urban state park reintroduced Indianapolis to the White River and created a new model for urban civic parks.

Kessler Park and Boulevard System

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George Kessler’s plan for the creation of a parks and parkways plan put into place an enduring series of greenspaces, providing opportunities to access the city’s waterways.

Riverside Park

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One of Indianapolis’ oldest civic destinations, Riverside Park has a rich history and was a key park in the growing Indianapolis Parks system.

Indianapolis Cultural Trail

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While not technically a “park,” the cultural Trail established a new approach to the use of public open space within the city’s established rights-of-way.

Fort Benjamin Harrison State Park

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The transition of Fort Benjamin Harrison from active army base to state park serves as an example of how these types of properties can be reused.

Indy Greenways Full Circle Plan

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We took the liberty of adding “future greenways” to the park discussion. The new vision for Indy Greenways outlines over 250 miles of trail development through Marion County and will continue to transform how we move around Indianapolis.