For our latest Places & Spaces, Dropseed Studio ventured seven hours west into the Mountain Time zone to collaborate with the engaging community of Scottsbluff, Nebraska. The project opportunity focused on landscape and stormwater improvements for the downtown core. Scottsbluff has been working hard on several progressive downtown revitalization plans since 2010 to increase community involvement, attract tourism and boost aesthetic appeal of the historic town center. After the completion of grant-funded building façade improvements, the City staff sought out a design team to work on the green side of the downtown’s curb appeal.
With their improvements to the downtown, City administration wanted to truly set a “green” example through a downtown master plan – encouraging the community to follow suit in their own landscape endeavors. Scottsbluff is a Phase II community as classified by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (based upon population) with more than 10,000 residents. Their NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System…a management practice focused upon improving water quality in our natural water bodies) permit requires public management to strive to comply through public education and lead by example. A design, focusing on stormwater management and plant material requiring low water input – due to their extremely dry climate – are the main objectives of the effort. Daniel Bennett, PAAD Regional Planner, commented on the importance of the green considerations stating, “it may not be the kind of things that will get your average person excited like the opening of a Red Lobster would, but 25 or 30 years from now I think these improvements will show themselves to be a huge asset in a healthy downtown landscape that is able to be sustained and will change with the community.”
Annie Folck, Scottsbluff City Planner, was thrilled with Dropseed Studio’s attention to these specific criteria as well as their focus on sustainability. The master plan covers an area six blocks long and two blocks wide. Key features include pedestrian walkway bump outs at intersections along Broadway Avenue to improve pedestrian street crossing safety and streetscape landscape enhancements adding botanical beauty to the downtown. Additional project solutions focused upon incorporating native vegetation within City public parking lots and streets to reduce pavement coverage and receive stormwater and dedicating areas in the downtown core for public gathering and events – most prominently the summertime Farmer’s Market.
The entire Scottsbluff community was invited to voice their opinion at public open houses and presentations in January and March. This downtown enhancement has been a team effort with participation from community members, City Administration, local merchants, the Nebraska Forest Service and the Nebraska State Wide Arboretum representatives.
Here at Dropseed Studio we are very excited to have been a part of the process and to see the project’s first phase kicked off this spring after the final master plan document is presented to City Council on March 31st.
We are happy to share the thoughts of our Color Team on container plants. They mention the small touches they provide daily that make a big difference! The photos above are an example of their...