Republic Parks & Recreation
The City of Republic tasked our team with envisioning a new future for their existing parks that would embody their mission statement: “Creating MEMORABLE EXPERIENCES through PROGRESSIVE THINKING and EXCEPTIONAL SERVICE.”
The work focused on addressing the priorities as determined by the community. Through surveys and workshops, the following parks were identified for improvements.
J.R. Martin Park, the “heart” of Republic, hosts a plethora of community activities, concerts, and events throughout the year. With a newly constructed Early Childhood adjacent to the park, it was essential to maximize the park’s flexibility and stretch its ability to host events.
Solution: We designed a board game called “Avatar” to extract the best use and configuration of amenities within the park through a stakeholder workshop. The design game revealed the need for an outdoor event plaza focused on a trail that became branded as “The LOOP” and an integrated sculpture playground and Concessions, Farmer’s pavilion, and Instagram-moment iconic signage and shade structures. Future phases will include outdoor classrooms and learning stations around the LOOP that can change with each event.
Republic Aquatics Center Expansion was a top priority for many community members, listing a lazy river as the most desired amenity. Party rentals and group gathering spaces are always in demand at this facility and the existing unique water features attract visitors throughout the region. The site is challenged with a significant grade change between the existing pool and the area available for expansion.
Solution: It was essential to enhance the existing identity as a destination location with cool interactive family-oriented amenities, both in the water and on land. Using the site constraints to our advantage, we designed terraces into the hillside, creating rental areas, patios, and lounge space along the path from the main pool to the 575 feet long lazy river. The terraces enhanced views to the water, the island, and to the new water slides. The lazy river will be shielded from the street by a new concessions/pool house with a pergola area for additional seating. We programmed out the maximum length of the lazy river that would fit on the site, designing the island also as its own destination location with rentals, cabanas, water features, and green space.
Republic Sports Park: The City of Republic identified the need to embrace sports tourism and grow its community through sales tax dollars. The need for a Sports Complex was listed as a high priority, with the caveat that it must be a park. The City of Republic purchased approximately 130 acres along the James River Freeway to create a new “hub” for athletics and attract tournaments from across the Midwest to the area.
Solution: Implementing a park-like setting within the sports complex was essential to branding the destination as a unique experience. We collaborated in workshops and charettes with the client to develop a 2-phased approach to the park that would make it function as a sports complex in Phase 1 while beginning to brand its own identity as a destination location. The park is to include retention ponds with docks, 12-court outdoor pickleball areas, open meadows, walking trails, a future nature center, turfed and lighted soccer “super fields”, baseball and softball fields with a major competition field as well as playgrounds, landscaped areas, pavilions, and other park amenities. All of this will be on display from the highway.