LIVINGSTON PARK CULTURAL IMPROVEMENTS
Livingston Park is the emotional heart of Columbus’ Near Southside neighborhood undergoing a great deal of change. Adjacent to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, considerable investment has been spent in the area with the expansion of the hospital campus and significant upgrades to the adjacent city streets and freeway system. Amidst this change and concern over the impacts of development, led the City of Columbus to consider both the challenges and opportunities for the cities oldest park to reinforce the community’s unique history and sense of place.In collaboration with Columbus Recreation and Parks department staff, an extensive public process was developed and implemented to engage the neighborhood and park users. Community input yielded a master plan for the future of this important historic open space that would reflect the park’s role in the community.
MKSK led the consultant team through the community, city, and state process to define the Master Plan and Cultural Improvements. The centerpiece of the park is defined by a significant shade structure, reminiscent of the historic trolley sheds. The western edge of this structure opens to an earthen amphitheater for community gatherings and concerts. The multipurpose mound serves as a sledding hill in winter months and effectively screens new traffic patterns at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Underneath and surrounding the shade structure is a new plaza, which can accommodate large crowds for festivals and markets. Picnic tables cluster under the pergola structure for family gatherings and cookouts while playful children’s paths wind through a grove of elm trees and native autumn moor grasses Within the plaza, interpretive panels weave an intricate story of the neighborhood through photographs, biographies, and anecdotes. The improvements have helped to bring new life to the City’s oldest park while reinforcing the neighborhood’s identity and preserving its history for future generations of residents.