The Culver Park Restoration Project in the Elliot Avenue neighborhood, generously funded by the Westchester Community Foundation and in cooperation with the Yonkers Parks Department, brought residents together to make significant changes to the park. After a successful collaboration with neighbors, students, and public officials the Culver Park re-development reached completion in the fall of 2009.

To revitalize this largely abandoned and historic site, we employed the charrette (click for more information on charrettes) process to deeply involve park neighbors in the design and planning. This process was crucial in designing a space that residents would actually use. For example, park-users wanted to re-orient the basketball courts so that they wouldn’t be running into the sun in the evenings, something an outsider would not have anticipated, but with community input we were able to make the change.

After the initial charettes, we asked the talented and creative Saunders High School students to draft designs incorporating the community input, giving them first-hand experience in landscape planning. These student designs were brought before charrette discussions with residents and the Parks Department and formed the foundation of the final design.

Throughout the process, we worked closely with the Yonkers Parks Department to make sure the finished product reflected the neighbors’ priorities. And as in our past projects, neighbors pitched-in to do some of the work.

Now the once barren park includes a new playground, basketball court, a sprinkler, and a small soccer field.

Click here for the Journal News Article on tennis in Yonkers playgrounds.