Luther George Park
Downtown Springdale Alliance; City of Springdale
Expected Completion 2024
2021 AIA New Orleans Merit Award for Un-Built Architecture
SMM was commissioned by the Downtown Springdale Alliance, which received a grant from the Walton Family Foundation in conjunction with their Design Excellence Program, to jump-start implementation of its downtown master plan with the expansion and renovation of Luther George Park. The park is part of the city’s larger plan to create vibrant public spaces and plazas, with the flexibility to support public art, performing arts and seasonal outdoor markets. t
Original sketch of Luther George Park renovation and expansion design.
SMM’s design is for a park that includes everyone, art, music, events, nature and play and connections to the 36-mile Razorback Regional Greenway, downtown and neighborhoods. Set along Spring Creek in downtown Springdale, Arkansas the 14-acre park fosters healthy community engagement by providing a sustainable venue for recreation, play and outdoor performances. The park draws its inspiration from the native landscapes of Arkansas and the cultural richness of the local community. The establishment of over 200 new trees in the park is built on the native ecosystems of the region and will provide shade for the community and habitat for local wildlife.
The park holds an open air stage at its center for music and programs, with the stage structure also attracting guests as it will stand on its own as an art piece. The Performance Pavilion is located on the park’s central axis – the dynamic form twists and straddles the pathway to form an inviting gateway into the park. Fronting the great lawn, the pavilion will host performances of up to 3,000 people. The shell leans back toward the earth fronting the small lawn which enables small events like movie night in the park to occur for 50-100 people. This innovative dual-sided arrangement is achieved by integrating the performance power and theatrical rigging into the shell – allowing for a myriad of flexible uses.
Youth members of the Springdale community participate in painting a tile that represents their vision for Luther George Park.
Public workshop attendees place a sticker on images of possible park additions that they would like to see.
As part of the pre-design community engagement process, the design team planned several interactive events. Both students and adults created art tiles with their visions. Others wrote their ideas on a poster board set up and viewed a gallery of common park photos and marked their favorites. On the community’s wish list were places for walking, biking and splashing; connections to downtown and to the Razorback Greenway, as well as spots to disconnect; places to meet, places to play; opportunities to enjoy art and opportunities to create art.
Art collages created by community members during the public workshop representing their visions for Luther George Park.
An interactive "Doodle" activity, in both English and Spanish, engaging community members to answer questions about how they use the park now and what it could be in the future.