Wednesday, September 28 | Submitted by Butler, Rosenbury & Partners | Downtown Central
Construction crews are finishing work on Park Central Square in downtown Springfield and the Square will reopen Friday, November 4. This is the culmination of a four-year effort to improve Springfield’s Public Square.
Originally positioned as the city center in 1838, The Square has been significantly reconfigured six times over the city’s history. The last major redesign occurred in 1972, when noted landscape firm Lawrence Halprin and Associates designed a modernist urban landscape, and The Square was renamed Park Central Square.
Over its 35 year life, the power of Halprin and Associates’ design was diminished due to deferred maintenance and numerous unfortunate “improvements.”
A Project Begins to Take Shape
BR&P was brought on to improve the square and make it a catalyst for a more vital downtown. BR&P’s initial designs, developed in collaboration with Project for Public Spaces, featured a number of significant changes to the design, each intended to increase functionality, livability and sense of place in the square, consistent with the directives of a client committee representing more than a dozen stakeholders.
A New Direction
Word spread of the impending changes to Park Central Square, and several local and national interest groups emerged in opposition to changing Halprin and Associates’ work. They nominated Park Central Square to the National Register of Historic Places, and because the project was to be funded with federal dollars, what was originally intended as a makeover, turned into a restoration.
BR&P’s efforts changed from redesigning to restoring and re-invigorating Halprin and Associates’ square — a trip to the Halprin archives in Philadelphia was a significant part of the research — and then making design changes, only when necessary and consistent with that intent.
What to Expect
Needs addressed in the project include:
Park Central Square takes a place in BR&P’s preservation and adaptive reuse portfolio, next to projects such as Boone County Courthouse, Historic Springfield City Hall, Springfield Brewing Company, and the Gillioz Theater.
Park Central Square by the Numbers…
How many truckloads of rock had to be brought in?
How many miles of new underground conduit were added?
How many new brick pavers have been added?
Find the answers to these questions and more facts here!