May 9, 2022 - We’re excited to share that our Imagine Iowa Great Lakes project was recognized as a merit award recipient at the 17th Annual Central States ASLA Conference in Tulsa, OK. The awards ceremony recognizes superior professional accomplishment and a standard of excellence.

The Central States is comprised of six individual chapters of the American Society of Landscape Architects. These chapters come together once a year for camaraderie, learning, advancing the profession, and to celebrate members' work. The six ASLA Central States chapters encompass eight U.S. states: North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

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Arnolds Park Promenade

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​​​​​​​What began as a streetscape beautification project morphed into the reinvention of several beloved public spaces in Arnolds Park and Okoboji, where the community can now experience the bustling waterfront’s boardwalks and lakeside parks –places that are well-designed, engaging, and colorful. The overall goal was not to transform the character of the place, but to heighten the qualities already inherent to the region and restore the natural spirit while providing guidance to key destinations in the area.

Today, the reinvigorated area is one of the most active community hubs in the region, attracting visitors far and wide to the thoughtfully landscaped parks that play host to a variety of activities, including its historic amusement park, outdoor concert venue, new walkways, retail and dining, playground, and picnic spaces.

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Arnolds Park Boardwalk

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The Iowa Great Lakes region in Northwestern Iowa has been long beloved by Midwesterners as a vacation destination. State Highway 71 is a significant corridor linking five municipalities in the Iowa Great Lakes region. Despite being such a well-traveled road, it was unfortunate that the many drivers it served had nothing to look out onto except worn pavement and sparse plantings. What started as a blank slate, lacking vibrancy or a purpose to attract visitors, has been transformed into a lively, verdant, and engaging outdoor destination for residents and visitors.

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East Lake Park

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Hoerr Schaudt was engaged in 2017 to develop a vision plan to beautify the highway. A design strategy was developed to improve the visual quality, natural environment, and vehicular and pedestrian safety along the 9-mile corridor, transforming the public spaces that people choose to frequent rather than merely pass through. Soon after beginning this work, the project evolved into much more as the opportunity arose to breathe new life into some of the city's most treasured public spaces, including Arnolds Park, as well as vacant, unused areas.

A comprehensive endeavor, the overall plan transformed previously drab communal spaces into places that prompt delight not just through the memories and associations they inspire but through the physical quality – the color and smell of the blooms, the interaction of the boardwalk with the waterfront, and the pride and identity that the signage evokes.

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Clair Wilson Park

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Maser Nature Corner

The public waterfront in the community of Arnolds Park is at the heart of the project. Here, Hoerr Schaudt reinvigorated the boardwalk with a new walkway connecting the town's Central Business District with the waterfront by creating a broad pedestrian walk through the park. A new promenade meanders through the park bounded by gardens that immerse people in an array of flowering trees, shrubs, and perennials. With a promenade, garden, and park all redesigned using horticulture as the primary driver for placemaking, along with the town's location on Lake Okoboji as the cornerstone for its identity, the project has transformed into an active and flourishing area for the Iowa Great Lakes community.

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Maser Nature Corner

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