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SITES Certifies Four New Projects

Four new projects have been certified by the SITES program including Kirke Park in Seattle, Wash., 38 Dolores, the site of a grocery store in San Francisco, Calif., West Point Foundry Preserve in Cold Spring N.Y. and Perkins+Will, a design firm in Atlanta, Ga.

The Sustainable Sites Initiative™ (SITES™) program has certified four new landscapes, including a pocket park in Washington state, a mixed-use development in Northern Calif., a historic Civil-War era preserve in N.Y., and the headquarters of an architecture firm in Ga. The four projects join 30 others certified by the SITES program, which is the nation's most comprehensive rating system for sustainable land design and development.

"These projects demonstrate how healthy, beautiful landscapes can be woven into both urban and rural communities," said SITES Program Director Danielle Pieranunzi, who is based at the Wildflower Center. "Sustainable landscapes provide many benefits including conserving water and reducing air pollution, and also offer visitors a place to connect to nature and history."

The four newly certified pilot projects each incorporate sustainable features that were evaluated using a rating system with certification levels of one to four stars. These landscape projects include the following:

Kirke Park, which received two stars, is a pocket park in Seattle, Wash. The park was designed to reflect the site's past, incorporating structural elements that were remnants from a church that previously occupied the site, while enhancing the neighborhood. A community garden recalls the site's history of producing food while a secret garden offers a quiet space inside the preserved walls of the historic church. A gathering plaza contains other park relics and is connected to an open lawn, providing structure for community events and informal play. A playground and an "adventure trail" that uses logs and boulders promote an active, natural play environment.

38 Dolores, a San Francisco, Calif. greyfield project that received a two star rating, has become a mixed-use development with 81 residential units and a Whole Foods Market on the ground floor. The LEED(R) Gold certified project improves the use of city systems and reduces its carbon footprint. To achieve SITES recognition, the developer added sustainable features including rainwater harvesting, alternative energy technologies, and green roofs that provide habitat for the endangered mission blue butterfly and a haven for city visitors. In addition, the site has edible and rain gardens and features such as education components to promote eco-awareness.

West Point Foundry Preserve in Cold Spring, N.Y., which received a one star rating, is a former turn-of-the-century manufacturing facility that was later declared an EPA Superfund cleanup site. The work of a community advisory group, informed by years of archaeological studies, helped inform the transformation of 87 acres into a publicly accessible outdoor museum and heritage destination with interpretation and restored habitat. The site's existing artifacts and previous history manufacturing Parrott guns credited with winning the Civil War, steam engines and mill equipment were incorporated into the design. The preserve includes a restored tidal marsh that supports wildlife habitat. Salvaged materials found on site such as brick fragments and stone were used in the project. Uniquely, the project included an archaeological monitoring plan to address unexpected features found during construction. The preserve is the second SITES-certified project of Scenic Hudson Inc. along the Hudson River and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a Preserve America site.

Perkins+Will, an architecture firm in Atlanta, Ga., received a one star rating. This design firm's new home is a living model for small urban sites that emphasize sustainability. Essentially "upcycling" an outdated office building on Atlanta's signature boulevard, the site now showcases elegant stormwater solutions and innovative use of materials on a highly constrained urban location. Where a parking deck and driveway once focused on auto access at the front of the building, a new civic plaza was created as an open-air living room for tenants and the community that reconnects the building to the street. The site provides walkable transit access for employees and clients, creates tenant space for civic uses and additional outdoor spaces for social engagement. The newly renovated building is also certified LEED(R) Platinum with the highest score in the Northern Hemisphere at the time of certification.

For more information about the SITES program, visit

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April 22, 2019, 5:41 pm PDT

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