The city is conducting a survey of buildings in the park's footprint to identify any that could qualify for the National Register of Historic Places. Lowe and others hope to incorporate into the park's design especially important or beautiful buildings, notably the citadel building the Salvation Army currently calls its local home and the city-owned Union Station, to give it immediate historical roots and added atmosphere.
Many of the older and mature trees will likely be kept. Efficient use of resources will be a hallmark of the park, and officials plan to use renewable energy sources for power when possible and to reuse rainwater as part of irrigation efforts.
The MAPS 3 board approved a recommendation to the city council that the city hires Hargreaves Associates, a consultancy, to begin forming a master plan for the park. Formulation of the master plan will involve plenty of opportunities for public input and comments.
“One of the things ... that really made Hargreaves stand out (from other consultants who bid) was their all-encompassing look at the project from what's underneath the ground, what's on top of the ground, what's above the ground,” Lowe said. “And then once the park is built, how do you maintain it? How do you operate it?”
A mess of power lines and buildings, some already owned by the city and some that will soon be owned by the city, must be cleared before visible work on the park begins in earnest. And the city must find a way to squeeze the park's operating costs into future budgets.
The board recommended approval of a $116,000 contract with Johnson and Associates Inc. for engineering services for the park to take care of some housekeeping items before the heavy lifting begins.
“There are utility surveys that need to be completed, (and) there's right of way and property boundary surveys that need to be completed,” Public Works Director Eric Wenger told the board.