R2G in Action

Public Parks and Greenspace

Kemble Park Project Overview

The Kemble Park Community Design Project undertaken between January and May 2012 brought together Cornell University faculty and students in the Department of Landscape Architecture's Rust to Green Capstone Studio with community partners in Utica to transform a vacant lot into a beautiful, functional and ecological space for Cornhill neighborhood residents. Efforts to keep the property dedicated to community green space, and eventually develop it into a park, have been under way for years with the leadership of a core group of community residents and nonprofit partners. The Mayor and the City of Utica also support the project and have offered to contribute in-kind services, in addition to donating at least one vacant, adjacent parcel to the park site. This design process and resulting park design and accompanying report represent a vital step in the process of creating Kemble Park. The comprehensive proposal offers a tangible vision for the park that meets the needs of the surrounding neighborhood. It can be used as the basis for moving forward, securing funding and developing implementation strategies to ultimately realize it.

Cornell University Rust to Green NY Action Research Project, Rust to Green Utica and Rust to Green Capstone Studio: As part of the larger Rust to Green NY Action Research Project and its involvement with Rust to Green Utica, the Rust to Green Capstone Studio was launched in 2012. The Cornhill Kemble Park Project is the first project to be undertaken by this service-learning studio and involved a team of eight Cornell University graduate and undergraduate landscape architecture and planning students, led by Professor Paula Horrigan. The Rust to Green Capstone Studio aims to undertake participatory community engaged design and planning projects with community partners to result in tangible, actionable projects fostering sustainable and resilient 21st century neighborhoods and cities.

Project Goals
  • Engage diverse Cornhill residents in a collaborative design process for Kemble Park.
  • Create a design proposal that weaves the neighborhood's social, ecological and community fabric.
  • Build on previous Kemble Park planning documents (Utica Master Plan, etc.) and incorporate identified programmatic needs especially as related to active recreation activities (basketball and soccer).
  • Utica Neighborhood Housing Services
  • Cornell University Department of Landscape Architecture
  • Cornell University Department of Regional Planning
  • Rust to Green NY Action Research Project
  • Rust to Green Utica
  • Cornhill Community

In the summer of 2011 R2G Civic Research Felllows redesigned and rebuilt Liberty Bell Park. This public space, adjacent to the historic Hotel Utica as well as a heavily used bus stop is now an inviting, restful area in the heart of the city.

Today, Kempble Park in Utica's Cornhill neighborhood is a two acre vacant lot surrounded by a chain link fence. This high potential parcel will soon be transformedintoa beautiful, multi-functional community gathring space in the form of a new park.

One World Garden is a project that emerged from the a partnership between R2G and the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees. Early in 2012 the One World Garden indersciplinary design and research planing team set out to develop the garden's design as well as a long term research plan aimed at evaluating garden's impact, once built, on both it's users and the urban context.

In the Oneida Square neighborhood the City of Utica undertook its first large scale implementation of its new community generated Master Plan. This project is known as the Oneida Square Roundabout. Rust to Green assisted the City of Utica and NYS DOT in the summer of 2011 as the Roundabout underwent construction. Rust to Green faculty and interns were able to adapt the proposed streetscape plans so that they could create significantly more green space while reducing project costs.