MOUNT VERNON — Imagine years from now Foundation Park enhanced by development, forming a natural greenspace highlighted by three lakes, surrounded by woodland, and scattered along its busy waters are islands of gardens. Set at the pinnacle of the park, an alleviated landscape holding an open pavilion like a beacon to all who are near. A diversity of trees adorn three miles of pathways that run the course of the park as natural habitats form shelters for wildlife. The vision continues with a central welcoming center for guests visiting the park’s carousel, picnic area or an event at the outdoor amphitheater. Visitors enjoy the bright sunny days with fishing, canoeing, kayaking and paddling.
But, this is not just a vision, but a plan.
For the more than a year, the Foundation Park Conservancy has been working with architects Matthew Urbanski and Chris Matthews of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates Inc., establishing a master plan for the development and renovation of the park. On Thursday evening, Urbanski and Matthews revealed the final plan for the future of Foundation Park at a meeting held at the B&O Depot.
“When I spoke to you this time last year, you said you wanted something special and unique but not extravagant,” said Urbanski.
Taking from their experience — walking the grounds at the park and discussing it in great detail with members of the conservancy and the community — the architects gathered ideas for improvements and new attractions.
“They discussed issues of how you get to the park which was really important to people; and the relationship it had to downtown was also important, and the park’s relationship to the regional bike system,” said Urbanski. “It was also brought up the beauty of the site: What is great about the site now and what’s not so great. We had a great debate about automobile access: How much there should be and what was appropriate in terms of that.”
In addition, the issue of how the park is utilized by the community on a daily and seasonal basis was discussed, and how this could be enhanced. Activities such as fishing, canoeing, kayaking, walking, bicycling and many opportunities are there, and even more so in its potential.