It is with great excitement that the Jackson Hole Land Trust announces today the final landscape design plans for the Save the Block project. Local landscape architecture firm Hershberger Design worked with the JHLT to design the landscape plan, marking another step by the JHLT toward creating and enhancing a community-friendly greenspace on the historic Genevieve Block. JHLT chose Hershberger Design to lead the project based on the firm’s extensive experience in designing beautiful and engaging public spaces that express the spirit of the place, and their ability to creatively address the unique dynamics presented by the conservation-easement protected property.
The greenspace on The Block was protected in August 2019 following a four-month-long fundraising campaign led by the JHLT during which over 2,600 individuals donated more than $7 million to purchase the conservation easement and underlying fee on the greenspace. Additional contributions to the Save the Block campaign were designated for funding the design and creation of a space where the community can safely enjoy a quiet piece of nature in the heart of bustling downtown Jackson. Once completed, the 1.2 acres of community greenspace will offer low impact pedestrian connections, plenty of shade under the community-cherished cottonwood trees, open common areas to gather and socialize, and functional access to the local businesses that inhabit the preserved historic buildings on the block.
“We are honored to collaborate with the Jackson Hole Land Trust on The Block landscape. As a local firm, we followed and supported the campaign to save this block through its entirety and throughout the design process we remained committed to designing a space that is inspired by the community’s strong vision and passion for this important piece of our town,” said Bonny Hershberger, Vice President, Managing Partner, Organizational Genius at Hershberger Design. “As we envisioned the possibilities of the greenspace, we concentrated on capturing the spirit of this project for current and future generations to experience while visiting the block.”
Phase one of the construction process started in early June and includes utility updates and enhancements as required by the Town of Jackson, including burying the power lines that currently run through the property and establishing an access route that serves block businesses. Café G LLC, the anonymous family who was responsible for placing the entire block under contract and purchasing the parcel to hold during the Town of Jackson plat design and approval process, is managing the utility work which must be completed before the initiation of phase two of construction which includes the landscape design implementation and construction. Visitors to the greenspace on the block should expect closures to the property during the utility burials and portions of the landscape construction process throughout summer 2020.
The landscape design plan reflects the historic community use of the greenspace on the block as a place to gather, escape the frenzy of town, patronize local businesses, and reconnect to the history and roots of Jackson. Upon completion, the improved greenspace will offer public access to a much larger greenspace that features meandering pathways, new tree and bush plantings that increase shade and provide a porous barrier to traffic and noise, and dispersed benches and natural seating throughout the space. The JHLT is also working with Town engineers to confirm feasibility for keeping Cache Creek daylighted through the property to provide visitors with access to water features and a historic perspective of where the Creek originally ran through town.
“During a time of increasing polarization, the Block has been a symbol of unity – it was a project that brought the whole community together and is a testament to what a group of people can do when we work together towards a collective vision. Throughout the year, the JHLT has been working with Hershberger Designs to create a design plan for the block that is inspired by the community spirit of the project and provides a peaceful, inclusive greenspace in the heart of downtown Jackson that reflects and supports the vitality and history of the Block,” said Jenny Wolfrom, Interim Co-Director of the Jackson Hole Land Trust Director of Advancement and Engagement at the Jackson Hole Land Trust. “We are so proud to have been a part of the campaign to safeguard this space that is open to and benefits everyone in our community.”
Design renderings and perspectives will be posted on the Block during the construction phase. The JHLT is not currently planning programs or events on the block for summer 2020 due to the utility and construction work planned for the space.