Actual “in loco” site observation is now quite jeopardized by the healthy growth of vegetation, with its leaves blocking most of the views we could previously see when in winter.

Now the river has risen quite a bit and occupies most of the site, covering it with its spirit and its companions (snakes, turtles, alligators…). Birds seem to be in a tantrum! So much food! So many leaves to hide and produce its chicks.

The actual impression is that the site is much smaller than I previously perceived it to be. I imagine that, to make it more usable, we need to enhance dry area (apologies to the ecology frieks) by bringing in lots of earth/sediment to heighten some selected regions.

We also need to create solutions as to address the risk aspect related to possible snake bites. Accidents with snakes will represent the death of the park and also some innocent snakes.

Another important aspect is that we need not only to create vegetation and maintain it so that it can later “walk by itself”, but also we need to choose areas where to creat voids. The feeling within the batture now is of repression and “closedness” (am I inventing words?). I believe that one beautiful aspect of an open space is exactly that! It’s open! Planning views towards town and the river will give the user a sense of location and that should augment the feeling of safety. Being “out there” gives us urbanites a bit of an insecurity sensation. Opening up views and making access points clear from afar will contribute to reduce this feeling, I believe.

The batture residents tents are still there, defying the river… Are these people going somewhere else if a park is implemented there? Should they become part of the process? Do they want to?

The drafts I scanned and attach here represent some of my thoughts on how to deal with these issues.

This one below summarizes a few studies on earth movement ideas, mostly enhancing dry area (III in the sections). I play with the idea of separating or integrating the 3 zones previously mentioned (wet, semi-wet, dry). I also created some movement within the river enhancing its margin and exploring niches for boat safe housing as well as different experiences one may have at the water level when river level is below 20′ (right now it’s above 31′).

This one starts thinking of zoning. We have two main connections here: the Casino and the Visitor Center. Both have plenty of parking space, but it seems that the Casino on the north is not a very popular choice, having very little movement. Also its parking spaces next to the park are at a low level, so some work would need to be conducted over there.

Our concept of creating a new water feature next to the Visitor Center, renders itself appropriate to create a connection (through water) to a park feature. An observation deck would be a great pulling force for visitors to cross River Road and explore a little further. On their way there we’ll tease them to walk a little further into the park and observe what we have implemented there for their amusement. The main idea, though, is to motivate local residents to bring their families and share a fun space integrated with nature. The force of the river would be diverted by a structure at river level, mostly composed of Gabions, that will be installed in the river bed, reducing its speed and the perceived danger that the river currents bring in their soul.

The sections exaggerate separation between ecosystems as an attempt to allow for human use without too much interference from wildlife and vice-versa.

Finally the bike path that stops several yards before the beginning of the park will be brought into the park, indirectly integrating current use of walks to the intended constructed park.

And the deliverables! What can I say? Sections showing specially water features within the park, perspectives showing the “openess” idea as well as the way I intend to place the board walks. Plans with all the earth movement in contour level changes, including the observation deck, placement of multipurpose sports courts and possibly a big wet area with water disconnected from the river (this is a must). Location and aspect of rest areas, with users enjoying it. Mockup models and a permanent one to fit into the class model.