New Paltz Downtown Park

New Paltz, NY | A pocket park design for the bustling corner of Main and North Chestnut Streets, in the heart of downtown New Paltz.
Winner of the 2019 American Institute of Architects Westchester + Mid-Hudson Valley Chapter Honor Design Award

The present site is a meandering municipal parking lot, situated at an important crossroads and, as an unsightly part of the urban fabric, has a negative impact on visitors and residents. This is mitigated only by the efforts of the New Paltz Garden Club, whose planting area is extremely  limited. The challenge was to improve this problematic area, while maintaining the number of parking spaces and an unobstructed circulation route.

Local businesses and government, with funding from a State University of New York (SUNY) Research Grant, collaborated on the design solution, a small park with an open planting plan: green islands create circulation paths through the park and gathering places within it; low and medium planting heights define spaces while facilitating pedestrian and parking lot safety; and the seasonal plant selections sustain new visual experiences throughout the year. Native plants are specified, creating forage for bees, butterflies and other pollinators, and the prescribed plant species are low maintenance perennials. Sustainable aspects include water permeable “cool” pavements and a bike station. The planned stone benches are locally sourced from the Shawangunk Ridge.

The full design team included:

  • Allen Ross Architecture
  • Tim Rogers, Village of New Paltz Mayor
  • Joyce Hwang, University at Buffalo SUNY
  • Andrea Frank, University at New Paltz SUNY
  • Emily Puthoff, University at New Paltz SUNY
  • Olivia Arcara, University at Buffalo SUNY
  • Joshua Korenblat, University at New Paltz SUNY
  • Jeff Freedman, University at Albany SUNY
  • John Wightman, University at Buffalo SUNY
  • Andrew Willingham, Willingham Engineering
  • Liz Elkin, Bloom Fine Gardening
  • Floyd Kniffen, Kniffen Builders
  • Rich Gottlieb, Rock & Snow

Allen Ross Architecture did all work pro bono and received an American Institute of Architecture Honor Award for the design.