NEON Community Open Space
The following is a list of features being contemplated, as shown in the renderings:
Paved pathways connecting the surrounding sidewalks and streets to the existing paved concrete pad to remain in place.
Landscaping within the areas of soil on site: grass or stable groundcover, trees, and shaping of the land (rain gardens, swales, berms, etc.).
Planters: both stationary and mobile. The purpose of these are to extend the greenspace from the south edge deeper onto the site, and to help designate the boundaries of the various activity spaces.
Stage Platform: this is shown with multiple tiers, serving multiple uses including: 1) A platform for performances; 2) amphitheater for watching activity within the Park; 3) a resilient element for play/recreation (can handle wear and tear from skateboarding and other high intensity activities).
Shade Structure: over the stage platform. This will make the platform usable rain or shine. There is a potential for the shade structure to incorporate rigging for lighting, projection screen, speakers, or other performance-related equipment.
Shipping Containers: the two 20’ containers currently at the PLOT can be re-used and modified for new purposes (vending, storage, etc.). A new 40’ container can be added to span above the 20’ containers to provide a surface for graphics and to make a shaded space below. The walls of the containers become surfaces for vertical gardens and graphics (like a neon ‘NEON’ sign!).
Benches: these would be made of solid concrete with reinforced edges for durability. They would accommodate a range of activities including seating, market stalls, and skateboarding.
Playground Area: to include play equipment on an appropriate play surface. The play equipment could be in the form of public art, similar to “Upper Blush”, the sculpture by Matthew Geller that was recently installed on site.
Basketball Area: a resilient hoop, backboard, and pole, with striping painted on the ground. Depending on the location, a fence element might be necessary to help prevent balls from leaving the site and becoming a hazard.
Lighting: the light poles from PLOT I could be re-used and new lighting could be implemented as needed. It will be beneficial to have power at the Stage Platform and also at the Containers.
Painting and Scoring: the concrete surface presents a good opportunity painting or scoring to help emphasize the diagonal paths and/or the division of the site into activity areas. The scoring may help with drainage – to provide a path for water to migrate toward the landscaped areas. During the charrette it was discussed that some game surfaces would be nice on the paving: chess, hopscotch, bocce, etc.
Public Art: the west wall of the adjacent building is a perfect place for a large commissioned mural. Also, places within the park can be dedicated for additional sculptures. Artworks that promote participation, interaction, and play should be favored.
Miscellaneous Park Equipment: Tables and chairs, play equipment, signage, water source for irrigation, etc.
Please stay tuned here and to the Downtown Norfolk Council’s website for news, upcoming milestones, and ways to get involved in the NEON District as it continues to evolve.