By Siraj Asfahani | December 22, 2011
An old Lakota Sioux proverb says that it takes a thousand voices to tell a single story. We thought it would be a good opportunity to provide a brief update on our project portfolio – projects that showcase the depth and talent of our team of planners and designers.
From all of us at Lakota, we wish you a joyous holiday season and hope to see many of you in our upcoming Lakota journeys soon.
South Main Revitalization Strategy – Rockford, Illinois
This past month, Lakota wrapped up a new master plan and revitalization strategy for the South Main Street Corridor in Rockford, Illinois, a key transportation gateway that connects the southern portion of Rockford’s central business district, an area where the City’s early commercial and industrial development first took place, to the Rockford International Airport. The revitalization strategy addresses several elements, including land use, streetscape, transportation, economic development and the revitalization of the traditional neighborhood core just south of the downtown district. The reuse of the large multi-building industrial complex is also envisioned as a significant catalyst for new investment and development activity along the corridor. Lakota worked with TY Lin International of Chicago and the CLUE Group of Arlington, Virginia on this important assignment. Scott Freres, Kevin Clark and Dominic Suardini were the principal Lakota planners and designers for this assignment.
Enos Park Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative – Springfield, Illinois
In 2011, Lakota continued its work with the Enos Park Neighborhood Improvement Association (EPNIA) of Springfield, Illinois to implement elements of the Enos Park Neighborhood Master Plan, prepared last year by Lakota in partnership with the EPNIA, the City of Springfield and Mansur Real Estate Services of Indianapolis, Indiana. The Master Plan outlines several revitalization strategies, including the rehabilitation of 400+ historic homes and the addition of more than 100 single family units as infill homes on vacant lots and in new row house developments. Lakota also began work on drafting neighborhood zoning code revisions and an ordinance to establish a neighborhood conservation district, which would be the first of its kind in Springfield. Lakota is also preparing a set of conservation district design guidelines that will serve as a design review document for new construction and rehabilitation activity within the neighborhood. Enos Park is located just north of downtown Springfield and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and is considered one of the City’s more historically and architecturally significant neighborhoods. The majority of the homes date from the mid to the late 1800s and were built by many of Springfield’s first generation of leading merchants and businessmen, lawyers, and politicians. The neighborhood is also home to the historic Edward Place and the Springfield Arts Association. Zac McConnell, Justin Weidl and yours truly have been the leading planners and designers for this project.
Downtown Strategic Development Plan – City of Kenosha
This past month, Lakota was awarded the contract to develop a Strategic Development Plan for the City of Kenosha, Wisconsin, which will serve as a long-term guide to enhancing the downtown’s established design and architectural character while exploring the need for a more diversified land use mix through business attraction and retention and new development. An interesting element to this assignment is exploring the possible expansion of the downtown streetcar system, which has been in operation since 2000. Lakota will be leading a dream team of consultants including TY Lin International and Goodman-Williams Group, both of Chicago, the CLUE Group of Arlington, Virginia, and Carolyn Dellutri of Downtown Evanston, Illinois.
South Marion Street Streetscape – Oak Park, Illinois
In early December, the Village of Oak Park, cut the ribbon on its brand new streetscape for South Marion Street in downtown Oak Park. Lakota led the Village design team to remake South Marion Street using the much of the same design scheme and material palette selected for the first phase of the downtown streetscape program along North Marion Street, which was completed in 2007. The streetscape design focused on making Marion Street a visually appealing pedestrian environment with wider sidewalks, flexible outdoor gathering spaces, new lighting, and customized street furniture and amenities. Materials used included bluestone sidewalk paving, granite curbing, brick streets, new plantings areas, and new street standards. While the North Marion Street project included a water fountain and sustainable design elements, such as an underground cistern for graywater capture and landscape and planting irrigation, South Marion Street features tivoli lights suspended from street standards at South Marion and Pleasant Streets. Tivoli lights are not the usual design elements found in many downtown streetscapes these days but their addition to South Marion Street provides a welcome air of festivity, even if it is 30 degrees outside.
Kudos to the design team that included Daniel Grove, Zac McConnell and Justin Weidl for working on South Marion Street. Since 2007, the North Marion Street streetscape project has won numerous awards over the last three years, including recognition from the Illinois Chapter of the American Planning Association, American Society of Landscape Architects, the Brick Industry Council and the Congress for the New Urbanism. Have to think South Marion Street will be in line for some props and hardware too.
Six Corners Economic Development Master Plan – Chicago, Illinois
in 2012, Lakota will be working with Goodman-Williams Group to develop a new economic development master plan for the Six Corners commercial district located on Chicago’s northwest side. Six Corners was once one of Chicago’s busiest neighborhood commercial districts and still boasts a highly successful Sears Store and a fully operating movie theater. The plan will focus on developing business attraction and retention strategies, district marketing initiatives, identifying development opportunity sites, parking management, and reuse concepts for several historic buildings in the neighborhood. Six Corners currently has the only operating Main Street program in the City.