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New York's Elevated Walkway

The out-of-use railway is grown over with foliage.

The path of the highline is outlined.

NEW YORK – Signaling an important change in policy towards the High Line elevated rail structure, on Manhattan's Far West Side, the City of New York filed with the Surface Transportation Board (STB), in Washington DC, requesting that negotiations begin to transform the High Line into an elevated public walkway.

"The City seeks a certificate of Interim Trail Use for the High Line viaduct," stated the City's December 17 filing to the STB. A Certificate of Interim Trail Use, or CITU, would start a process called "rail-banking," which allows out-of-use rail corridors to be reused as recreational trails.

For more information, go to The High Line was built in the 1930s to remove dangerous freight trains from city streets. The effort to turn the structure into an elevated walkway has been ongoing since 1999.

TrailLink 2003 set for Providence

WASHINGTON – The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy will host the International Trails and Greenways Conference in Providence, Rhode Island on June 26-29.

This conference is the premier international trails and greenways conference. Those attending will have the opportunity to link up with the world's experts, share experiences and examine how trails and greenways have gained global momentum as tools for addressing design, smart growth, livable communities, brownfield restoration and promoting public health.

For more information visit; email; or call 202-974-5152.

Touring Madison's Landmark Forest

James Madison

MONTPELIER STATION, Va. – James Madison's Montpelier will host a variety of historic, educational, and entertainment events throughout 2003, including seasonal guided tours of the old-growth forest. Known as the Big Woods Walk, these tours are held four times this year. The Big Woods Walk is a guided two-hour walking tour of the James Madison Landmark Forest, a 200-acre old-growth forest. The first tour already has taken place last month, but the last three are scheduled for April 6; July 13; and October 19. All tours start at 2 p.m. at the Montpelier Visitor Center, and are by reservation only. Cost is $9 for adults and $5 for children. For reservations call 540-672-2728 and press 6 for RSVP line. For more information on reservation deadlines and other experiences at James Madison's Montpelier, visit

UCLA Study Shows Water Reclamation
Could Become Source for Water Suppliers

The demand for water outside of California, along with environmental needs, is reducing Southern California's imported water supplies, according to the UCLA Institute of the Environment Researchers' Southern California Environmental Report Card for 2002.

Water reclamation, or the reuse of highly treated wastewater, potentially can provide new supplies equal to approximately 50 percent of Southern California's water consumption. "There is a lesson to be learned from the recent energy crisis," researchers Michael Stenstrom and Richard Berk wrote. "We did not construct the needed electricity-generating infrastructure of implement the necessary conservation to provide for the future. The same thing is occurring with water supply. Water-reclamation plants take just as long to construct as electricity-generating plants, and water is much less transportable than electricity."

Researchers also warned that California's drought could be more severe and longer than those in the past, and that "the problem it creates could make our electricity shortage seem trivial by comparison."

Commission Takes Action on Several Issues

The Pentagon, Arlington County, Va.

WASHINGTON – The National Capital Planning Commission recently took actions on seven issues facing design of the nation's Capital.

The Commission approved final site and building plans for the new Metro station, located at Florida Ave. and 2nd Street, NE. They also tabled consideration of preliminary and final site and building plans for a perimeter security project at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md.

The Commission approved preliminary site and building plans for a Northwest Parking Garage at National Institutes of Health's campus in Bethesda, as well as a preliminary and final building plan for the installation of nine antennas on the roof of the American Red Cross Headquarters.

Also approved was a design concept plan for a secure access lane and security bypass for the Remote Delivery Facility at the Pentagon in Arlington County, Va. The Commission requested that in preparing preliminary site and building plans, the Department of Defense explore ways to improve the pedestrian friendliness of the walking and bicycle pathway along the secure access lane.The Commission also approved the Master Plan for the Marine Corps Base Quantico in Prince William County, Va.

For more information visit

The Grand Kugel

The Grand Kugel was unveiled last month in front of the Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond. The solid granite sphere weighs more than 57,000 pounds.

RICHMOND, Va – Red Hogan Enterprises of Tampa, Fla., recently completed the sale and supervised the installation of one of the world's largest floating granite sculpture, a globe representing the Earth.

The 29-ton ball, called a Kugel (the German word for ball), was set in place Jan. 7 in front of the Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond, where it will be featured as an interactive educational tool, as well as a distinctive landmark for the highly visible institution.

The Kugel is comprised of a sphere of solid granite 8 feet, 8-5/16 inches in diameter and weighing 57,991 pounds. A portion of it rests in a base stone carved to the precise contour of the ball. Water, at a mere 33.81 pounds per square inch (psi), is pumped up from beneath the base and sets the Kugel on a slow spin, which will continue as long as the water is running.

The Grand Kugel has a diameter of more than 8 feet. The shere and its base have a combined weight of 101,000 pounds.

Despite its mass and size, the direction of the ball's spin can be easily changed by even a light touch.

Christened the "Grand Kugel" by museum officials, the sphere is engraved with the map of the Earth and is engineered to rotate along the same axis as the Earth's rotation -- 23.4 degrees, with its North Pole pointing to the North Star. The sphere was quarried in South Africa into a 9-foot-square block of clear black Bon Accord Dark granite weighing 81 tons. It was shipped in October 2001 to the German manufacturer, where it took more than a year to be honed to a near-perfect, polished and engraved object.

"The globe of the earth is far more than we expected," says Walter Witschey, Ph.D., director of the Science Museum of Virginia. "Its scale, its grandeur, and its elegance of design are mesmerizing. Our visitors are hypnotized as they stand, stare and sense their world at an unusual scale. For this globe, that visitors can move with one hand, Everest is 1/16 inch high, and our fragile atmosphere would be only 1/4 inch thick."

The sphere was set in place on January 7, 2003 with two cranes and a lowboy trailer.

The base stone of Tarn granite from France was crafted to echo the capitals on the Museum's columns. The Science Museum occupies Richmond's former railroad hub, the Broad Street Station. It was designed by architect John Russell Pope, whose works include the Jefferson Memorial and National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

With a combined weight of 101,000 pounds, the Grand Kugel sphere, base and equipment were delivered to Portsmouth, Va., by ship, then to the museum joba site by a heavy-duty Lowboy trailer that required special permitting to travel Virginia roads. Two giant cranes lifted the granite globe and base from the truck and set them – perfectly level – in place.

"Nature's Jewels" Come to Smithsonian

For the first time at the Smithsonian visitors will get the chance to see butterflies and orchids together.

WASHINGTON – The Smithsonian's annual orchid exhibition is now open in the Arts and Industries Building through May 26.

The array of plants in the show will change constantly, so visitors who come back again and again will discover new treasures in "Nature's Jewels: A Living Exhibit of Orchids and Butterflies."

This is the ninth annual exhibition featuring orchids from the collections of the Smithsonian's Horticulture Services Division and U.S. Botanic Garden, but the first time that hundreds of live butterflies in a 1,000-square-foot free-flight enclosure will be included. Visitors will be able to see more than 40 different species of butterflies by walking through the enclosure or looking through the large observation windows.

Daily tours at 2 p.m. will give visitors a chance to learn about orchids, which appear on every continent (except Antarctica) and have adapted to almost every environment on the globe.

For a detailed schedule of events, visit or call 202-357-2700.

IALD Names Design Veteran
Gary Gordon to College of Fellows

CHICAGO – The International Association of Lighting Designers announced that the induction of lighting design veteran Gary Gordon into its College of Fellows. Gordon, founder and principal lighting designer of Gary Gordon LLC, New York, is known as a pioneer in the field of architectural lighting design and has received numerous other distinctions for his work in the profession.

"Gary Gordon has made significant contributions to the field of lighting design and to the IALD," noted David Mintz, FIALD, and chair of the IALD College of Fellows. "His leadership, design skills and educational efforts have been of paramount importance in integrating light into the fabric of architecture and into the prominent role it now holds."

Gordon has made numerous contributions to the IALD over the years. For three years he chaired the awards committee, widening the jury selection and helping build the competition into the international program it is recognized for today. During his leadership of the communications committee, Gordon spearheaded the development of the association's first corporate identity program.

As a three-year member of the IALD Board of Directors, he initiated many programs such as the IALD Student Scholarships, the Quality of Visual Environment Committee and the National Council on Qualifications for the Lighting Professions. Acting as the IALD representative to the NCQLP for seven years, Gordon helped build an industry consensus that resulted in a comprehensive lighting certification program. He received the NCQLP 2002 Presidential Award and the IESNA 1999 Presidential Award "for extraordinary effort...for the lighting industry."

Gordon is also a Fellow of the IESNA, has served on the IES New York Section Board of Managers and is a Founding Director of the Nuckolls Fund for Lighting Education.

IALD Announces New Board Members

CHICAGO – The International Association of Lighting Designers announced the election of five new members to its Board of Directors:

Charles G. Stone II, IALD, LC, of New York, NY, is President Elect; Michael Souter, FASID, IALD, LC, San Francisco, CA, is elected Director of Membership; Jeffrey Miller, IALD, Seattle, WA, is elected Director of External Affairs; Robert Prouse, IALD, LC, New York, NY, is elected Director of Education; and David Bird, IALD, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, is elected Director at Large

Additionally, two members were elected to serve on the membership committee. They are Larry French, IALD, LC, out of San Francisco and Dawn Hollingsworth, IALD, LC, out of Los Angeles. The new officers and committee members assume their duties on January 1, 2003.

"We are very pleased with these new additions to our Board of Directors and Membership Committee," noted JoAnne Lindsley, FIALD, chair of the nominations and election committee. "We are confident that their industry experience and commitment to the profession will be of great value to our mission of promoting lighting design excellence worldwide."

President Elect Charles Stone, partner at Fisher Marantz Stone in New York City, is an award-winning lighting designer whose experience encompasses architectural and theatrical projects including concert halls, airports, convention centers, museums, hotels, theme parks, corporate headquarters and commercial developments around the world.

According to Stone, "the office of President Elect is a new position affording a year to learn, plan and prepare for the job of President in 2004. I will use that time to meet as many IALD members as I can. Additionally, I will work with and listen closely to current President Andre Tammes and our past Presidents and Fellows to understand better the history and vision of the leaders of our profession."

Lighting For Tomorrow Contest Announced

DALLAS, TX – The American Lighting Association (ALA) invites lighting designers and lighting fixture manufacturers to compete in the first National Lighting Fixture Design Competition. Under the banner, "Lighting for Tomorrow," the goal of the competition is to introduce attractive, innovative and energy-efficient residential lighting fixture designs into retail showrooms.

Sponsors of the competition, in addition to the ALA, are the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE), and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), represented by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL).

More information is on the competition website at:

J.A. Brennan Assoc. Wins International Award

The design and the final restoration was honored for a regenerated habitat designed to protect fish and wildlife.

WASHINGTON – J.A. Brennan Associates, a landscape architecture and planning firm, is the recipient of the Waterfront Center's International Top Honor Award for the design of Herring's House Park.

The park, which encompasses environmental regeneration, was selected from 70 entries to receive the Top Honor Award. The jury felt that the rehabilitation marsh overseen by a multi-disciplinary team "raises the bar" for restoration work. The jury termed Herring's House Park a "living, green oasis in Seattle's industrial heartland --an exemplary urban wild."

The marsh is considered a "living green oasis."

The firm was selected as prime consultant for the project after the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation and the Elliott Bay/Duwamish Restoration Program Panel set a goal for restoring aquatic habitat to the Duwamish River system to protect and enhance critical fish and wildlife habitat.

The park is located on the Duwamish Waterway at the site of the former Seaboard Lumber Mill.

PCA Analysis of November Construction Activity Reports

SKOKIE, Ill – Ed Sullivan, chief economist for the Portland Cement Association (PCA), has reported that the Commerce Department's November report on U.S. Construction supports PCA's general outlook for 2003. The 2003 forecast calls for a year of modest decline in construction activity and cement consumption. Construction activity grew 0.1 percent in November from October, but decreased year-to-date by 1 percent. PCA expects the nonresidential sector to act as a significant drag on 2003 construction levels. "Consistent with our forecast, non-residential construction will continue to languish without improvements in industrial, office building and retail store construction," Residential construction, primarily single-family homes, remains strong despite an inevitable slowdown. November public construction activity grew favorably year-to-date compared to October activity; however, multiple state fiscal difficulties support a modest decline.

Palmdale looks to Future for Water Conservation

Palmdale, CA – The City of Palmdale is planning for the future – specifically the future of its water. As part of a conservation plan, the city has put into place the following water saving measures:

  • All landscape watering is now being done within the a water window between 8:30 p.m. and 9 a.m. (two hours less per site than before). Newly planted areas on a one-year maintenance agreement are not included.
  • The monitoring of irrigation systems is being done once a month instead of twice a month.
  • Water usage analysis in conjunction with the Central Control Irrigation Management System has been achieved at each site to ensure correct precipitation rates, nozzle uniformity and other variables to ensure optimum efficiency.
  • The facilities staff has installed flow restrictors in aerators on faucets and automatic sensor-type valves and faucets, low flow showerheads at the pool facilities and space modules in the tank-type toilets to reduce the gallons per flush to conserve water in city buildings. The Plamdale Public Works Department can be contacted at 661-267-5300.

VERSA-LOK(R) Part of WTC Memorial

OAKDALE, Minn. – Following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, our country searched for ways to heal itself. Alan Koenig, Landscape Designer for the Bergen County Parks Dept. believed that something was needed to help provide solace and support to those affected by the terrorist attack. In the days following the attacks, Koenig noticed citizens wearing lapel ribbons of red, white, and blue to show their solidarity. A concept that began with a ribbon, ended with Koenig's design for the World Trade Center Memorial Plaza, which lied in Bergen County's Overpeck Park in Leonia, New Jersey. The design features two granite towers, inscribed with the names of Bergen County residents who perished, encompassed by a curved VERSA-LOK Weathered™ Mosaic® retaining wall. Approximately 5000 sq. ft. of Mosaic units went into building the memorial walls. Acting as planters, the walls hold ornamental flowering trees and other ground cover to provide seasonal interest to the memorial. The raised seating, created with the Mosaic units, enframes the memorial, providing a place to remember, rest and reflect.

Recycled Automobiles Hold Great Promise

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – In response to customer demand for alternative composite products, Universal Forest Products has expanded its mix to include Xpotential Products, a line of recycled multi-purpose posts, landscape ties and parking curbs made from recycled automobiles.

The products are a plastic composite manufactured with 100 percent recycled materials including the non-metallic by-product of recycled automobiles, and post-consumer/industrial plastics.

These recycled multi-purpose posts, landscape ties and parking curbs will not twist, splinter, rot or decay. Exposure to sever temperatures, submersion in fresh or salt water and freeze/thaw cycles has little effect on these products. They will not suffer a reduction in structural integrity due to insect damage, termites, rodents, road salt, and periodic contamination with oil, gasoline and other corrosive chemicals.

Online Seminar Links Ethical Code With Practice

VIENNA, Va. – The Center for Collaboration and Education in Design (C2Ed) is holding an online seminar that shows how regulatory boards' Rules of Conduct impact the actual practice of design professionals.

The seminar is titled Practical Advice for Design Professionals: Ethics, Litigation and Contracts. The seminar is sponsored by the National Society of Professional Engineers in partnership with C2Ed.

This eight hour seminar addresses a ethical practice for design professionals and explains how the legal codes of professional conduct impact every phase of practice from advertising to project certification. Marco Rajkovich, Jr., a practicing attorney who is also a design professional and a certified ethics trainer will teach the seminar.

Rajkovich explains the difference between mediation, arbitration and litigation and discusses how to prepare for each. He also addresses the variety of clauses that should be included in service engagement agreements to ensure that these contracts are within the guidelines of professional conduct rules and to protect design professionals from litigation.

The seminar provides eight continuing education contact hours or professional development hours for engineers, architects, landscape architects, surveyors, interior designers or planners. The seminar will also satisfy the ethics training standards that some jurisdictions mandate.

The cost of the seminar is $279.90. For further information visit

Founder of Earth Day Receives Olmsted Medal For Environmental Stewardship

WASHINGTON – The Honorable Gaylord A. Nelson, United States Senator (D-WI) from 1963-1981 and founder of Earth Day, was presented the Olmsted Medal for his lifetime of environmental stewardship.The Olmsted Medal is the highest award presented annually by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) to an individual outside the profession of landscape architecture.

Past recipients of the Olmsted Medal include former President Jimmy Carter, former Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt, and former Maryland Governor Parris N. Glendening.

Senator Nelson was nominated by the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects for his more than four decades of environmental leadership. His achievements safeguarding our planet include the establishment of Earth Day, the Outdoor Resources Action Program, and championing important environmental legislation such as the Clean Air Act and the Water Quality Act. Senator Nelson recently co-authored Beyond Earth Day: Fulfilling the Promise, further exploring and giving definition to his life's work as an environmental advocate.

On the first Earth Day, April 22, 1970, Senator Nelson set forth a goal of "an environment of decency, quality, and mutual respect for all other human creatures and for all living creatures." The Olmsted Medal is ASLA's recognition of Senator Nelson's lifelong commitment to that goal.

The Olmsted Medal honors Frederick Law Olmsted, long acknowledged as the founder of American landscape architecture. A pioneer in his field, Olmsted championed the City Beautiful movement, and his notable work includes Central Park, the U.S. Capitol Grounds, Prospect Park, Chicago's Riverside subdivision, Buffalo's park system, and the Niagara Reservation at Niagara Falls.

Public Space and City Icon:
The Gazebo in Safety Harbor

The Gazebo in Safety Harbor's downtown park has become an icon for the Florida city.

The folks in Safety Harbor, Florida, are so fond of the gazebo that graces their downtown park that they've turned it into an icon for their city. Proudly displayed on postcards, wine glasses, shirts, brochures, and the city's website, the Poligon® shelter's image has become synonymous with this town near the northern tip of Tampa Bay, home to 17,500.

John Wilson Park, in the heart of downtown Safety Harbor at Main Street and 4th Avenue North, has always been a small (1/2 acre) but popular park. Until 1980, it was home to a majestic, 60" diameter oak tree. When the tree died, the city's public works department built a steel gazebo to replace the park's focal point. The gazebo served the town well as the site of various events. But it wasn't ADA – compliant, and by 2000 was starting to show its age. Meanwhile, Main Street had been renovated in 1995 to the tune of $5,000,000. It was clear that the park needed a facelift.

The design has a curved retaining wall that created a plaza area and winding walkways lined with refinished wood benches.

Tom Ronald, Safety Harbor's director of leisure services for the past 20 years, had a vision for the park. He hoped to find an updated, modern replacement for the town's popular gazebo.

Safety Harbor's version sports a green standing-seam metal roof and a wheelchair ramp with matching railings that was created by a local builder. But before Ronald could realize his vision of a new gazebo for the park, he had to sell the idea to community leaders. That's where David Underwood of Contract Connection, Inc., Jacksonville, Fla., came in. Underwood created a 2' and 3' laminated photo of an gazebo like the one Tom Ronald had in mind for Safety Harbor.

"A main goal was to make the park accessible and inviting."--Kevin King

"Showing a large photo of the shelter in a setting helped get everyone on board with the project," recalled Underwood. "I called it my silent salesman." Tom Ronald was equally reliant on the oversized image. "I carried it around with me for a full year and made 20 or 25 presentations to community groups and the city commission," he said. "By the end of the process, everyone felt really good about the project and the choice of this shelter." Although there was some hesitation about tearing down the old, familiar structure, everyone now agree s that "the new gazebo is the greatest thing," s a id Ronald. Ronald applied for and received a community development block grant to fund the purchase of the shelter. He then hired The Bacon Group, an architecture, engineering and planning firm located near the park.

Project architect Kevin King was charged with redesigning the park. King's first decision was to place the new shelter off-center, instead of right in the middle of the park (where the majestic oak and original gazebo had been).

" I placed the new gazebo diagonal from where the earth crowned, and raised the grade to create a kind of amphitheater, " said King. The park as public space was a main theme of the overall concept, said King. "I didn't want the park to have just one entrance, " he said. "I created a primary entrance from the main sidewalk; a secondary, smaller entrance off the smaller street; and a tertiary entrance from everywhere, inviting people to walk into the park right off the street, onto the grass," said King. "A main goal was to make the park accessible and inviting "

The park has multiple entrances, with the gazebo being the centerpiece. Pictured here is the tertiary entrance.

King incorporated elements from the nearby, recently renovated Main Street. During renovations in the mid-1990s, the brick street had been removed, and bricks were installed along the sidewalks. To echo that design, King placed bricks in a soldier course two- and three-rows deep on either side of the sidewalks leading up to and around the gazebo. The city sells engraved pavers, bricks, and benches for the park, with proceeds going to the Leisure Services Youth Scholarship Endowment Fund.

In another effort to visually connect the park and Main Street – while taking into consideration the park's diminutive size – King specified 3-foot bollard of the same design as the downtown street lamps. "I wanted to be sure the lamp posts were appropriate for the scale of the park," said King. King designed a curved retaining wall that created a plaza area on the street corner. Winding walkways lined with refinished wood benches lead visitors from the plaza to the grassy seating area and the gazebo. The gazebo sees plenty of action.

The gazebo hosts more than 50 events every year. Its winding walkways allow for easy access.

Tom Ronald estimates that the shelter hosts more than 50 events each year, from weddings, "family fun nights" and holiday gatherings to noontime concerts and Chamber of Commerce luncheons. Ronald says the gazebo's design is clearly a large part of its attraction. " Since it's open on three sides, it's very friendly and inviting," said Ronald. "It's a high – quality structure." Ronald also praises the structure's utility tubing, which includes a chase for electrical wiring. "This way, we don't have to run wiring attached to the poles," said Ronald. "The integrated lighting is great for weddings and concerts."

In 2002, the Florida League of Cities awarded "the Gazebo at John Wilson Park" a City Innovations Showcase award; the award recognizes "unique city accomplishments and civic pride" in Florida cities. Perhaps the greatest 'award' for Safety Harbor is the constant use and overwhelmingly positive opinion of the shelter. The gazebo serves not just an idea site for weddings, concerts, and other events, but also as a metaphor for a city that's welcoming, charming, forward – thinking, and time less.

Cactus Poaching, Legal
Harvesting Threat to Desert

Legal and illegal harvesting of cacti from the Chihuahuan desert is threatening the species.

WASHINGTON – Demand for wild cactus and rare plants by landscapers and plant collectors may soon surpass supply in the Chihuahuan Desert, a new study finds.

The booming desert landscaping trend, combined with poor regulation of wild plant removal, could deplete some species, the largest ever analysis of trade in Chihuahuan Desert cactus found. The report released by TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network of World Wildlife Fund and IUCN, finds that unsustainable trade could endanger certain populations of cacti if measures are not taken to regulate their harvesting.

The legal and illegal trade in cacti is fueled by two forces: demand for cactus to use in landscaping and demand by cactophiles - collectors who favor rare and newly discovered species.

Landscaping that uses drought-tolerant plants like cacti, known as xeriscaping, is booming in cities like Phoenix, Tucson and Las Vegas. Barrel cactus, prickly pear cactus and saguaro cactus are the most popular species used in landscaping.

"This report has spurred WWF to act," said Jennifer Montoya, head of WWF's Chihuahuan Desert ecoregion program offices in Las Curces, New Mexico. "We strongly believe that the rise in xeriscaping--a positive development--is an opportunity that can help the environment and the struggling economies of rural parts of the Chihuahuan Desert."

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June 15, 2019, 10:25 pm PDT

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