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!

 

 

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