Gresham Smith firm wins American Society of Landscape Architects chapter award for park design

KYASLA award

Accepting the award this month were the firm’s Jared Kaelin (middle) and Louis Johnson (right) from Joshua DeSpain, president of Kentucky ASLA.

Gresham, Smith and Partners has been honored by the Kentucky Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects with a Merit Award of Achievement for Communication for its work designing and promoting our neighborhood park.

GS&P’s team developed a conceptual plan and framework for the project and provided support for communication campaigns, helping the non-profit Friends of Beechwood Park sell the idea and raise funding through the use of virtual reality technology.

Last year, Friends of Beechwood Park obtained a $13,222 Neighborhood Development
Fund grant from Louisville Metro Council to start the first phase of construction. The total budget for the project is about $90,000.

GS&P accepted the award and other honors earlier this month at the professional organization’s annual meeting, held in Covington.

This was the fourth consecutive year the firm received awards from the KYASLA. GS&P was recognized as the Firm of the Year, honoring the firm’s commitment to landscape architecture and service to the community.

WFPL spotlights park on eve of street festival

WFPL interview

Caudill (left) and Kaelin with WFPL’s Johnson.

“There’s really a lot of potential,” Kristen Millwood, vice president of the Friends of Beechwood Park told the station for its just-published story, “and we’re really excited to add another park to Louisville.”

The park’s design was by Gresham Smith and Partners, an architectural firm in Louisville, says WFPL correspondent Laney Johnson. The firm’s goal reflected the neighborhood group’s: to honor the history of what used to occupy the area and keep with the Victorian aesthetic of the neighborhood.

“Part of what we do is we like to design the way we live,” said Jared Kaelin, an urban designer with the firm. “And part of that is active community spaces and places for people to hang out. We kind of modeled a family space or a gathering space after the footprint of a Victorian home.”

WFPL’s coverage came in advance of the first annual Friends of Beechwood Park Street Festival set for Saturday, Aug. 19. There will be food vendors, a beer tent, activities for kids, as well as virtual reality goggles visitors can use to digitally experience what the park will look like when finished. The event is free, but donations are welcome to support the park.

“It will bring out more awareness to what we’re doing,” said Brian Caudill, president of the Friends of Beechwood Park. “Maybe other groups would like to see how we did it and we’ll gladly mentor them through the process.”

Caudill also said “The Highlands loves a party,” and encourages people to come see what they are doing.

The CJ says, ‘The small-but-stately new Beechwood Park is taking shape’

Beechwood Park volunteers

Friends of Beechwood Park volunteers hard at work in June.

At the Beechwood Avenue site — which park leader Brian Caudill calls a “forgotten piece of land” — volunteers cleared invasive plants and other overgrowth this summer with tools  borrowed from the Olmtsed Parks Conservancy.

The property is one block northwest of Mid-City Mall, a sliver never developed after the mall opened in 1962 on the land once occupied by the German Protestant Orphans Home, The Courier-Journal’s Martha Elson wrote, in a June story about Crescent Hill and Tyler Park home and garden tours.

Vacant land remains where the homes stood along Beechwood, and the area in back behind a stone wall is covered in asphalt as part of the mall complex. The wall occasionally is spray-painted with graffiti, and walkways leading to the “phantom houses are still discernible in patches under the grass,” neighbor Charlotte Whitty wrote in an essay about the park plans called, “They Paved Paradise.”