The 2017 Elizabeth Park Master Plan coincided with the Park’s 120-year anniversary of offering generations of visitors to and residents of Hartford and West Hartford a tranquil sanctuary, a nationally recognized rose garden and an open space offering recreational opportunities and green respite. Recipient of an Honor Award from the Connecticut Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Master Plan resulted in a vision for Elizabeth Park that uses modest interventions and adaptive reuse to honor the legacy of the Park and breathe new life into this historic example of landscape architecture and design. The unique and relatively intact quality of Elizabeth Park earned it a designation on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983 as a significant example of early 20th century, picturesque landscape architecture. The two-phase master planning process took a multifaceted approach to understanding the unique challenges and opportunities within the Park and the influences beyond its borders.
The 2017 Master Plan included input from the Elizabeth Park Conservancy, members the City of Hartford’s Public Works, interest groups, ecologists, and community members. The design overlaid these needs onto the forms and functions of the 1900 Park design. Effort was taken both to retain the picturesque Olmstedian circulation paths while separating modes of transportation for increased safety, provide adaptive reuse programming of historic buildings, and to create a management strategy to protect and augment the historic tree canopy. The restored edge of Laurel Pond is laced with a new boardwalk that rims the water’s edge – echoing the rustic timber footbridges of the early twentieth century park.
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