Pulaski Park’s five linear acres sit atop the Connecticut River embankment, overlooking the dam that provides the power that made Holyoke an industrial giant of the nineteenth century. A design by Frederick Law Olmsted in 1907 featured up-river views of Mount Tom and a handsome balustrade and walkway along the embankment. Now the embankment is overgrown with invasive plants; the view is obscured; and the park is in shambles. Private development cuts the park off from nearby housing projects; storm water erodes the embankment; and combined-sewer overflows contaminate the river.
While exploring ways to link this green-space to nearby parks and playgrounds, the student team also pursued issues of environmental justice and access to the park from the adjacent neighborhoods. Thematic alternatives for the park organized it around recreational facilities, food production and farmers markets, and visual and performing arts, incorporating programmatic ideas as much as design details. Incorporated throughout are recommendations for storm-water management, traffic calming, and pedestrian safety.