Sunday, June 22, 2014

Taylor Park

Taylor Park is 1 of 108 St. Louis parks.  The city website claims the park is 0.03 acres and was placed into ordinance in 2008 and that this is in CWE and Forest Park Southeast.  It is not in Forest Park Southeast and I doubt it is 0.03 acres.  The park is actually on Taylor Avenue between Lindell Boulevard and Maryland Avenue in the city's Central West End neighborhood:


This is one of the city's newest parks.


Previously it was a grass field.  Per a 2010 article by Sarah Fenske in the Riverfront Times, Taylor Park was formerly the CWE Dog Park.  The city obtained development rights of the site as part of a recent deal that allowed Barnes Jewish Hospital to take over Hudlin Park, which was technically part of Forest Park, but located across Kingshighway Boulevard to the east.  You may remember the park that included tennis courts and playground equipment. (source)

Per Niki Dwyer's "Niki's Central West End Guide" blog, construction started in 2010:
When budgetary constraints forced reconsideration of the design originally intended for the site, Bowood Farms was enlisted to collaborate with the Parks Department and the Board of Public Service on developing a new, simpler plan that could be constructed this year within the budget. 
The result is a heavily landscaped urban oasis, intended to offer a peaceful refuge for the enjoyment of residents and visitors of all ages, in all seasons, individually and in groups.


Niki's Central West End Guide


As depicted on the site plan shown above, the new park will be a fenced "courtyard" surfaced in natural stone and enclosed by graduated banks of trees and shrubs. Additional features will include a multi-tiered fountain at the center, surmounted by an impressive dome-shaped iron trellis. Plans also call for a meditative labyrinth to be etched into the surface of the stone, and for benches, chairs and tables to be located throughout the space. There will be provision for bicycles and strollers, and soft lighting for nighttime aesthetics and safety.
Lighting is by Randy Burkett Lighting Design, the firm responsible for lighting the Art Museum, the Arch and Citygarden. Gateway Contracting was the General Contractor. (source)
The park really delivers on being a beautiful, peaceful, private space just off the sidewalk of a very busy area.  


The park's setting is an urban pocket park in every sense of the word.  Buildings of various sizes and eras frame this amazing spot.





The natural pavers are beautiful and have a labyrinth pattern engraved to form a path to walk the park's interior:


Site construction photo Sarah Fenske, Riverfront Times, 2010

There is a sign describing the intent of the labyrinth design within:


It reads:

"Engraved into this pavement is a single-path labyrinth pattern.  Follow the path to the center and out again.  You may walk the labyrinth as a form of meditation or prayer, to express an intent, to spur creativity, to seek guidance and for many other reasons.  Traditionally, labyrinth walking encompasses three steps: 

Releasing: walking in, shedding unwanted thoughts and feelings
Receiving:  sitting in the center, open to new possibilities
Returning:  going back into your life, perhaps a bit changed from having walked a labyrinth"

The center has a tiered fountain.



There are benches and metal picnic tables on the outside of the round courtyard.



The tall hedges provide privacy and peace from the bustling streets and densely populated neighborhood.  The entire space is surrounded by a small metal fence, and there are stations for storing bikes and strollers for visitors.



Some mourned the loss of the dog park and grassy field.  I personally think it complements the high-end neighborhood quite nicely.  Even the sidewalk on the western edge of Taylor Park is fancy, with paver stones and landscape buffering park goers from the busy street.


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