Reconnecting to the waterfront
The English Park Scenic Overlook and Boat Ramp, once a little used open space in Owensboro, Ky., has been transformed into a riverfront park along the Ohio River. The 12-acre park is the latest element of the city’s Riverfront District Master Plan, which was created in 2001 to reconnect the city and its residents to the river.
Owensboro contracted with Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based planning, landscape architecture and urban design firm EDSA in 2001 to create the Riverfront District Master Plan for 960 acres. City leaders wanted to turn 1.4 miles of underused and blighted riverfront adjacent to the downtown core into a riverwalk, with marine facilities, a restaurant and entertainment district and a revitalized park.
The first two implementation projects were Riverpark Center, a special events patio adjoining an existing performing arts center at the eastern end of the riverfront promenade, and Mitch McConnell Riverwalk & Plaza, an open space for performances and events. Work on the 12-acre English Park Scenic Overlook and Boat Ramp began in spring 2006.
The city constructed a terraced lawn, an overlook patio and pavilion, a boat ramp and two parking lots. The park features native plants, local stone and craftsmanship, custom detailing in the paving and hand railing, contemporary site furnishings, and pavilions and site structures. Residents and visitors can rest on serpentine seat walls or use the large terraced lawn for picnic-style seating. Park benches tucked along the top of the riverbank afford a broad view of the river.
Since the park’s completion in December 2007, adjacent land values have increased and a townhome development facing the park and river doubled in size because of demand. The park is now one of the more highly used spaces in the Riverfront District because it links directly to the residential neighborhood. Owensboro has organized several public events at the park, and it has been used for private social events. The project received a 2009 Merit Award from the Kentucky Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects.
Project: English Park Scenic Overlook and Boat Ramp
Jurisdiction: Owensboro, Ky.
Agency: Engineering Department
Vendor: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based EDSA
Date completed: December 2007
Cost: $4.5 million