2 min read

A Town's Living Room

CARBO (17)

PROJECT DETAILS Cost of Park: $3.1 million | Build Time: 18 months | Size of Park: 4 acres

Healing Springs Park 

The goal was to create a “civic living room” for Siloam Springs, Arkansas. As Shannon Blakeman of CARBO Landscape Architecture relates, it was a plan that could not come to fruition without “intense community engagement and input.” Receiving the 2018 Louisiana Chapter ASLA Merit Award, the plans certainly delivered and now this healing park has finished construction.

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This site presented many challenges that CARBO turned into design opportunities. From the historic natural spring that flows along the site, to the handling of a 45- degree slope (from an accessibility point of view as well as stormwater management), to the final part of the project, which was to host a variety of events that all have different requirements in this outdoor living room, CARBO met all of the challenges

The natural spring, Sager Creek, is at the north end of the site, a spring that in the past was believed to have healing properties. The Chautauqua had used the space for assemblies in the 1800s, and a hospital existed on the site during the second half of the 20th century. To respect this history, the name of the park is now Healing Springs, a place dedicated to the health and wellbeing of the people of Siloam Springs.

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The existing topography of the site, a 45-degree grade change, was incorporated into the design—creating a natural amphitheater that includes a series of level lawn spaces defined by concrete risers. The park’s primary path gently slopes at five percent, traversing the amphitheater, to connect the lower area to the upper level of the site. The result is functional, aesthetically pleasing and appears organic. To protect the infrastructure, stormwater management had to be incorporated into the design

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Native plantings

Rain gardens are strategically located and stormwater runnels follow the sloping pathway to create a natural water feature during heavy rainfall.

CARBO (7)Rain Garden

Flexibility in the use of the space meant so many things to so many of the residents. Not only were there well-attended public workshops, there was also online polling and surveys, as well as numerous meetings with city staff. The final requirements included an interactive water feature, native garden areas, a performance stage and pavilion with associated seating, dedicated space for a farmers’ market and a demonstration kitchen. A facilities block was also added for convenience to support all the planned activities as well as a sympathetic makeover of the existing Veterans Memorial.

The Promenade CARBO   CARBO (5)

CARBO (3)The farmer’s market space is on the western edge of the park, next to the demonstration kitchen area and the interactive water feature. A wide promenade flanked with shade trees creates a more functional space for delivery truck access and to position tent for the market. Low plantings and are training wall help buffer nearby street traffic. The demonstration kitchen is for learning about healthy eating but can also serve as a concession area. Restroom facilities are conveniently located here also—as well as an abundance of seating in order to create a community feel.On the lower terrace of the site, the stage and pavilion are sited to provide optimal viewing and proximity to the sloped amphitheater, while allowing access from the street. An orchard of trees shades the open area behind the pavilion where an existing gazebo remains and movable seating creates a passive park destination. Pedestrian access to the bridge across the historic healing spring has been improved and now helps connect the park to all of downtown. At opposite corners of the overall site, there are “Arkansas native garden” areas that aim to educate visitors on the native plants and regional ecology.

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With only four acres, CARBO Landscape Architecture was able to create a gathering and “healing” space meant for all who gather there.


Get In Touch With...

CARBO Landscape Architecture

Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Phone: (225) 302–7452
www.carbo-la.com

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