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An abandoned parking lot within a sensitive floodplain is re-imagined as a dynamic, accessible, ecologically-sound public park.

Natural Playground

New Hampshire

RDG designed a three-acre park near the Ashuelot River on the site of what is now an abandoned parking lot. The park is ADA-accessible, and includes a series of bioswales to infiltrate stormwater, a native meadow, a shaded stone-dust plaza with infrastructure to increase floodwater storage, and an accessible natural playground.

The project was initiated by a group of private citizens, who enlisted RDG to help them organize a collaborative design process with city officials. RDG has also assisted in setting a timeline, which includes an ownership transfer of the site, and its future amenities, to the City. Currently the project is in fund-raising with plans to break ground in Summer 2018.

Key Features

  • Native meadow
  • Increased floodwater storage capacity
  • Accessible natural playground

Services Provided

  • Project goal setting and visioning
  • Site analyses
  • Schematic site plans
  • Permitting support

The Ashuelot boasts the site of the oldest known evidence of man in New Hampshire, dating back 10,500 years, and has also been identified by the US Fish and Wildlife Service as one of the four most important refuges for the federally-listed endangered dwarf wedge mussel. The Ashuelot became recognized as a state designated river in June 1993.

NH Dept. of Environmental Services

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