My final vision of the park hasn’t changed much from the beginning of the semester. New seating, playgrounds, renovated historical building and a basketball court would greatly improve the area. I didn’t understand the importance of seating in public spaces before this class. Prior to this course, I didn’t even notice benches until there weren’t any to sit in. For the most part, my peer feedback agreed with these ideas and I think the local community would enjoy the gentrification of the park so they could use it.
There are three main groups who need to approve of the public project: the City of Aberdeen officials, the citizens of Aberdeen, and the Historical Society of Harford County. For years, city officials have been wanting to be productive with the park so once an official plan for funding is in place, there shouldn’t much push back from the city to renovate the park. If the public sees that their input is taken into serious consideration, then I think they will come to approve of the project. Most likely the most difficult group to convince of the project will be the Historical Society of Harford County, from whom we approval in order to either move the building or renovate it. If we are able to create a concrete plan on how the building will be renovated step-by-step, the Society might be able to be convinced.
Since the park focuses largely on the renovation of a historical building, the cost of the project will be steep. However, there are several ways to fund this historical project, including the Maryland Heritage Fund (up to $10,000 in grant funds), Maryland Historical Trust (grants, loans, and tax credits) and the 10%/20% Federal Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit. If the city applies for these grants and credits, a large chuck of the total cost should be covered.
There will be cost of general maintenance such as landscaping care, which will be covered by the city. The city already pays for the current landscaping services, but there will be a need for additional funds for garbage collection and other upkeep needs. I expect for the city to pay for the upkeep, but this should be able to create more jobs for the locals.
The greatest challenge of creating a sustainable built environment is balancing the economic, human, and environmental factors.Creating the space requires funding from either the public or the private sector, so there needs to be an allocation of public funds or a pulling force to draw in investors. The public needs to be able to voice their concerns and opinions. Also, if the local area is to be damaged or the locals are forced to be relocated, these issues need to be addressed. Finally, the built environment needs to be environmentally sustainable which means a small ecological footprint and maintaining the natural capital.
Being a leader of a community, it is vital that the public has the ability to influence their community. Through the use of public hearings and surveys, the public has the opportunity to voice their opinions and concerns to both their local government and the businesses in their area.