Landscape Architect & Specifier News

AUG 2014

LASN is a photographically oriented, professional journal featuring topics of concern and state-of-the-art projects designed or influenced by registered Landscape Architects.

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88 Landscape Architect and Specifier News Nevada City (Continued from page 86) as a permanent feature. The boardwalk, located in the historic district of Nevada City, was designed by Karin Kaufman Landscape Architect to feel as if it were always a part of the environment. The layout of the deck boards mimic two wooden sidewalks in town. The decking and benches are redwood salvaged from a removed deck. The sides of the planter boxes are rusty, corrugated tin from a nearby construction project, echoing buildings in and around the town. Planter boxes and guard rails with rebar pickets separate the boardwalk from the street, making it a space where parents can relax without worrying about their young children entering the street. Gary Tintle of Tintle, Inc., directed construction of the boardwalk. For weeks prior to the installation, volunteers converged on Tintle's workshop to construct the modules that would make up the boardwalk, while Tintle and Kaufman, both members of the Nevada City Sustainability Team, worked out the design details. Community members from the mayor to kindergarten students came out to help. Installation of the boardwalk took one morning, and people immediately began to enjoy their new sitting area in a town lacking public gathering spaces. As part of the approval of the project, the Nevada City Sustainability Team had to figure out how to maintain the boardwalk with nominal expense to the city. The three parking meters left in place after construction of the boardwalk are now brightly colored "Give-O-Meters." All money donated to the meters goes into a fund for the maintenance of the boardwalk. So far, enough money has been raised to cover the costs of upkeep, which includes wood stain, new plants, mulch, fertilizer and potting soil. Originally planted exclusively with California natives donated by Floral Native Nursery of Chico, Calif., the boardwalk has been under the care of former mayor Reinette Senum, local residents and merchants. If plants die, or where they haven't filled in quickly enough, these caretakers put in new plantings, which seems to work fine. In winter, annuals such as pansies and snapdragons bring color; in spring, bulbs emerge and bloom; in summer, sunflowers tower above all else, inciting passers-by to smile. It's not all roses, however. Whether or not the boardwalk should stay has become a great source of contention among the local population. The location of the boardwalk was chosen because it was considered a "troubled spot." Merchants there had struggled because the area was unattractive or even scary to locals and tourists. For some groups of young adults the spot was a hangout. As there was no place to sit, they would frequently sit right on the sidewalk, blocking the way with their legs, backpacks or their dogs. It was intimidating. Inspired by San Francisco's Pavement to Parks program, the boardwalk on Commercial Street was championed by the Nevada City Sustainability Team with the support of community volunteers, businesses, the city and its staff. Today it is the venue for live music every Thursday afternoon. It's a place where people meet to have a cup of coffee or a slice of pizza, then walk around town. A group of teens meets there to knit. The young adults who used to hang out on the sidewalk are also there. Some feel the boardwalk encourages these young people to gather there, and that it should go. Might one take a different stance? The sidewalk is no longer congested, and there is beauty instead of parked cars. There is space for everyone. Left The three parking meters left in place after construction of the boardwalk are now brightly-colored "Give-O-Meters." All money donated to the meters goes to fund maintenance of the boardwalk. Enough money has been raised to cover the costs of wood stain, new plants, mulch, fertilizer and potting soil. Right The planters originally had exclusively California natives donated by Floral Native Nursery of Chico, Calif. The tall, pink sprays of flowers—native coral bells (Heuchera 'Rosada')—are original plantings. The other plants, the purple lavender and campanula, the pink zinnias and the white sweet alyssum were planted by residents.

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