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Park Hopping Across the Country
Editor Steve Kelly


Welcome to the LASN Parks issue: eight diverse parks across the U.S. designed by landscape architects. This travelogue of parks begins in the parking lot of LASN's headquarters in Tustin, Calif., (Southern California). We take a left on Irvine Boulevard for a short trip to the planned community of Irvine and head to the border of the Orange County Great Park. There in the FivePoint neighborhoods is Beacon Park, with its very cool "tree house," playground, pool, picnic amenities, adjoining walking trails and community-wide bike paths (p. 84).

From Irvine we head southeast on a 1,338-mile road trip to San Antonio. If you've ever traveled to "ol' San Anton" you no doubt visited the Alamo, and have seen the Tower of the Americas, the theme structure for the 1968 World's Fair (HemisFair '68). Yanaguana Garden (p. 52) is a step toward revitalizing the HemisFair site in the heart of the downtown. Back in the car, we take a fairly short trip (268 miles) north northeast to Fort Worth to view the design of the John F. Kennedy Tribute, a poignant memorial park to the late president that will trigger a flood of memories for baby boomers. You'll also learn about JFK's activities the morning of that fateful day, November 22, 1963 (page 34).

From Fort Worth we point the car northwest for a 768-mile leg to the mile high city. I personally prefer the mountain communities to Denver's southwest, but check out the design for this revitalized space--Denver's 'Midtown' (p. 66)--which is being transformed from a 182-acre brownfield site into community gardens and parks. We say adieu to Denver and head in a 1,000-mile straight line for Sinatra's kind of town (Sammy Cahn's, actually). Did you attend the 2015 ASLA show in Chicago? Most of the landscape architects stayed in the downtown hotel district north of the Chicago River. A short boat taxi south from there takes you to revitalized riverside open space adjacent to Chinatown. It's called Ping Tom Memorial Park (p. 58), a project involving five phases and a decade of work.

Turning left from Lake Michigan, we head northwest for a 409-mile jaunt to one of my favorite cities (in spring or summer), Minneapolis. There on the hill shared by the Guthrie Theatre overlooking the Mississippi is pretty Gold Medal Park (p. 94) with its open lawns, observation mound, trails and the myriad mature maples, lindens, hackberries, honey locusts, oaks and catalpas.

Taking a left at the Mississippi, we head directly west toward South Dakota. As a kid traveling with my parents to South Dakota, we naturally stopped off at Mount Rushmore.

But this leg of the trip (574 miles) takes us to Rapid City, named after Rapid Creek (the Sioux named it for its many rapids). The creek is pivotal to our Legacy Commons at Memorial Park feature (p. 74). Patrick Wyss, FASLA, originally designed Memorial Park in 1978 as part of an 8-mile greenway developed after the devastating flooding of Rapid Creek in 1972.

With a view of Rapid Creek in the rearview mirror we head northwest to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. This 824-mile journey is through some of the prettiest and least inhabited country in the U.S. This quaint city is nestled next to the beautiful forested rimmed Lake Coeur d'Alene. The city now boasts a new large park, McEuen Park (page 44), with great amenities and a promenade to the lake.

So there you have it, in order of appearance in the magazine: Fort Worth, Coeur d'Alene, San Antonio, Chicago, Denver, Rapid City, Irvine and Minneapolis. Hope you enjoy the trip, we're still driving back from Idaho (1,374 miles). Take also a side trip to South Lake Tahoe--talk about a beautiful lake--for the pro bono design for a community bike park (p. 172).

There is also some news worth stopping for (no election coverage!):
o ASLA 4th Quarter Business Survey (p. 104).
o Corporate campuses moving back to downtowns, seems to be a trend (p. 106).
o An ASLA survey of landscape architecture graduates (p. 108).
o National assessments of U.S. coastal waters and the Great Lakes (p. 116).
o Obama designating three national monuments in the Calif. desert (p. 118).
o Private donation affords Lincoln Memorial updates (p. 120).
o ASLA's efforts to raise diversity in the landscape architecture profession (p. 122).

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November 19, 2019, 1:55 am PDT

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