Washington County Community Foundation Receives $164,530.00 Grant for Pocket Park.
Downtown Salem will undergo a bit of renovation over the next two years as a new pocket park is constructed. This endeavor was one of many ideas submitted by local residents who participated in the creation of the Washington County Quality of Place and Workforce Attraction Plan. “We are very excited to be able to facilitate the construction of the pocket park,” stated Judy Johnson, Executive Director of the Washington County Community Foundation. “We actually started working on it pre-COVID, which seems like an eternity ago. Once Daniel Martinez, assistant professor at Indiana University’s J. Irwin Miller Architecture Program and lead architect for the project, and I had a basic concept down, we submitted a Letter of Intent to Regional Opportunities Initiative, with our fingers crossed.”
After submission of the Letter of Intent, they received an invitation to submit a full proposal. “The Letter of Intent was a lot of work, but it provided us a great foundation to build the idea for a pocket park,” explained Johnson. Next a group of stakeholders was pulled together to talk about design elements, themes, and locations. “We really want to thank the people that participated on the Stakeholder team: Brande Abbott, Karen Barry, Joy Bierly, Alex Campbell, Jeremy Elliott, Lisa Fleming, Mayor Justin Green, Krista Martin, Tara Kritzer, and Kristy Purlee. Their contributions added to the strength of the proposal.”
Applying for the grant was a three step process. Upon positive review of the written proposal, the group was invited to make a live presentation to the selection committee. “Daniel was a great partner throughout the entire process,” explained Johnson. “He and Lulu Loquidis really did most of the heavy lifting. They created an amazing proposal.” Martinez and Loquidis are co-founders of LAA Office, a multi-disciplinary design studio that explores the territory between landscape, art, and architecture. The office is based in Columbus, IN.
“The Salem Pocket Park project will be a unique synthesis of public space and public art that links the historic downtown square with the John Hay Center. It will feature new works of art honoring significant women in Salem’s history, as well as seating, tables, shade umbrellas and planters,” explained Martinez.
The group hopes to begin the project this fall, weather permitting. Next spring, Salemites will notice a lot of work happening on the corridor between the Salem Square and The John Hay Center. The group hopes to have the project completed within 24 months.