Thursday, March 6, 2008

Design Firms Unveil Shelby Farms Plans

Posted By on Thu, Mar 6, 2008 at 4:00 AM

Three finalists in the Shelby Farms Park design competition revealed plans for the 4,500 acre park at a press conference at the Central Library Thursday morning.

Plans from all three firms -- Tom Leader Studio, Hargreaves Associates, and Field Operations -- were inspired by trends in "green" environmentally-friendly design. Each puts some focus on restoring waterways and encouraging on-site organic food production.

Tom Leader Studio is proposing a solar farm that would utilize sun energy to run all Shelby Farms' facilities. Their plan would also restore natural streams and divert their flow into the Wolf River. That water would be used to irrigate organic food crops and native grasses used in the creation of biofuels. Under the Leader plan, public art would be installed by artists-in-residence who would live onsite for six months. The plan also calls for a new amphitheater with studio space for musicians and an on-site restaurant specializing in healthy food.

Hargreaves Associates plans to turn Shelby Farms Park into Shelby Lakes Park by creating new streams using water from the Wolf River. The end result would consist of 10 miles of waterways that could be used for canoeing, kayaking, and other recreational activities. The plan would also create a new sports center with fields for outdoor sports, such as track and football, and space for indoor sports.

The Field Operations plan includes a 100-acre orchard for apples, peaches, figs, and cherries to be sold at the on-site farmers' market. An Art Mound would be developed on the west end of the park for public art installations, and the plan includes a Shelby Farms Charter School. Patriot Lake would be expanded, and goats, llamas, and additional bison would be added to the existing range area.

The plans are on display the Central Library and Cossitt Library. Plans will be available for viewing at the Shelby Farms Visitors Center beginning March 17. Later today, they can be viewed on the Shelby Farms Park website. The public is being asked to comment on their favorite aspects of each plan in an online questionnaire. A final design firm will be chosen in April.

-- Bianca Phillips

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