This week students in Cornell CRP’s Design Connect workshop presented their scheme for a Binghamton park to the city’s Parks Committee to favorable reviews. The group, led by Carolyn Gimbal (H.P.P ’19), proposed a looping trail to connect different programs in Ross Park, which is home to Binghamton’s zoo and children’s science museum.
The proposal is a key part of Design Connect, a class open to graduate and undergraduate students from AAP, as well as the university at large. The course pairs student design teams with local clients to improve public spaces the clients steward or manage.
“It can be a really affordable way for cities and nonprofits to develop plans for things like parks,” Gimbal told WBNG, which first reported the story.
For Ross Park, students conducted a site analysis and outreached park users to determine what would make the park more user-friendly. Park-goers told the group that the park’s roadways were confusing to navigate, and that park paths posed dangers to pedestrians.
To address these concerns, the team thought it would be a good idea to revamp trails through the park’s woodlands, and connect the main entrance with the zoo’s carousel. They also presented plans to add public art and new plantings, enhance traffic control via bollards near the main entrance, and slice a view of downtown through the trees.
The Parks Committee will forward the project to the whole city council once funds are secured, perhaps this spring.
Funding for the project could come from state grants and historic preservation funds. Gimbal stated that the total estimated cost of the improvements comes out to about $677,000.