Archive for Thursday, August 4, 2005

Park planning continues

Design charrette to give public another chance for input

August 4, 2005

Planning for the new "Lansing Community Park" continues this week, when consultants conduct a "design charrette" for the public.

The two-day charrette will begin at 8 a.m. Friday at City Hall, 800 First Terrace, and continue again at 8 a.m. Saturday, with each day's session ending at 5 p.m.

Shannon Gordon, a senior landscape architect with Jeffrey L. Bruce & Co., the firm charged with developing a master plan for the park, explained what a "charrette" is and how it came to be.

"Members of the school of architecture at the Ãcole des Beaux-Arts in Paris coined the term charrette at the end of the 19th century," Gordon said. "The faculty would assign design problems so difficult that only a few students could solve them in the allotted time. When the time was up, a cart, or charrette, was rolled past the drafting tables to collect the students' work, completed or not.

"The term 'charrette' is used today to describe highly effective design that is expressed during intense workshops. They have proven to provide a cost-effective way to involve multiple designer and design disciplines, like ours for the Lansing Community Park Master Plan, and the public in a focused series of work sessions.

"These sessions yield high-quality, cost-effective design that can be used to gain public awareness and momentum for a project," Gordon said.

The charrette comes on the heels of a two-day needs assessment in which consultants took comments from members of the public and other stakeholders about what they'd like to see in the new park, which will sit on 128 acres west of the city on 4-H Road.

Jason Crum, the city's Parks and Recreation director, said the charrette would take some of the broad ideas discussed in the needs assessment to a more specific level.

"From what is discussed, they'll create what I call 'paper dolls' - big maps of the park land with scale models of options. They'll come up with several different models of layouts of the park."

The first day of the charrette will focus on proposed features for the park itself, not including the aquatic center envisioned for the area. Day two will focus on the aquatic center.

Though there is a schedule for the charrette, Crum said people with ideas about the new park could drop in at any time during the two days.

"It's not necessary for someone to come in and stay for the entire two-day process," he said.

Once the charrette is completed, Crum said, the next step would be a survey of Lansing residents to determine the level of support for what is being proposed.

A detailed schedule for the charrette can be found at


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