CITY OF TALLAHASSEE NEWS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 31, 2012
CONTACT: Ashley Edwards, Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Affairs, 891-3853; or
Lizzy Kelley, Communications Department, 891-8533
August 31, 2012
Today, the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) recognized the Park Avenue Chain of Parks as a prestigious work of Landscape Architecture. It was one of three sites statewide that were recognized. This event was part of ASLA’s “Celebrate Our Public Landscapes” campaign, highlighting the role landscape architects play in improved quality of life and physical well-being.
An important part of the city's urban fabric, the Park Avenue Chain of Parks was previously honored by ASLA as a Centennial Medallion recipient in 1999 as a part of the celebration and recognition of the 100th anniversary of the American Society of Landscape Architects. Now once again, with the support from the Tallahassee Section of Florida Chapter ASLA and the City of Tallahassee Parks, Recreation, and Neighborhood Affairs (PRNA) Department, this important public space has been selected for recognition by the ASLA.
“Our park system as a whole is one of the Best in America,” Mayor John Marks said, “and the Chain of Parks downtown is an integral part of our quality of life in Tallahassee. It is the home for a variety of events that bring people to the area and where they create wonderful memories. It’s the centerpiece of the downtown community.”
Recognizing the value and potential for this previously underutilized asset, the City of Tallahassee engaged the services of a professional landscape architect in 1993 to work with a 16 member citizen committee in developing a master plan for the renovation and redevelopment of the seven-block chain of parks, which are situated in the heart of the city’s urban core and historic district. After months of careful analysis and a very thoughtful design process, the Park Avenue Chain of Parks was reconstructed in 1994 following a simple, organizing master plan that unified the parks as a system and took special measures to protect and enhance its magnificent canopy of live oaks. The renovation of the parks was embraced by the citizens of Tallahassee and visitors, and this historic open space has played an important role in the revitalization of the downtown area.
During the 18 years since the renovation, the Chain of Parks has served as the principal venue for many of the community’s programmed annual and seasonal events, including the Winter Festival, various art shows, weekly farmer’s markets and more. In addition to special events, the parks also offer a pleasant respite for downtown workers and visitors to take a quiet, shaded stroll or enjoy a brown bag lunch.
Beyond its success as an important civic space within the public realm of Florida’s capital city, the parks also demonstrate the value of the stewardship of a high-performing urban tree canopy.
“The protection and preservation of the urban canopy is important for many reasons. It provides significant environmental benefits including shade, wildlife habitat, helps to clean the air, reduce storm water runoff through absorption and evapotranspiration and the aesthetic benefits are huge, too,” said Patrick Hodges, ASLA, the professional landscape architect who planned the Park Avenue Chain of Parks. “The canopy defines space in the same way that ceilings and walls do within buildings. The beautiful live oak canopy of the Park Avenue Chain of Parks plays a major role in creating a unique sense of place for downtown Tallahassee.”
Founded in 1899, ASLA is the national professional association for landscape architects, representing roughly 16,000 members in 48 professional chapters and 76 student chapters. The Society's mission is to lead, educate and participate in the careful stewardship, wise planning and artful design of our cultural and natural environments.
The Park Avenue Chain of Parks is maintained by the City of Tallahassee Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Affairs Department. It is comprised of seven separate passive parks that line the center of Park Avenue from Meridian Street on the east to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard on the west. For more information about the variety of park spaces available in our community, please visit Talgov.com/Parks, like PRNA on Facebook or follow @COTParks on Twitter.