Veterans Park
Master Plan
October 2015

Background

The Veterans Park Master Plan is a planning and design tool whose purpose is to guide and bring consensus to the design of the space with respect to the memorial landscape.

Veterans Park is in the heart of Stamford’s downtown commercial district and is bordered by the Landmark Square office complex, a busy bus stop, First County Bank and the Stamford Town Center Mall. Significant war monuments have been dispersed throughout the park to honor Stamford’s veterans, but the poor placement of the monuments has allowed the memorial aspect of the park to be overlooked in the bustle of the urban setting. The random arrangement of the monuments, trees, and hardscape has hindered the space from having large events and created hiding places throughout the park, compromising security. A feeling of disconnectedness, lack of meaningful park use, and recent crime activity brought together a group of local business leaders and veterans as an ad-hoc committee to improve the park for the surrounding community.

This master plan consciously tries to meet the goals put forth by the committee:

  • Serve as a public meeting place
  • Be a primary link for east-west connection through the downtown
  • Continue to serve as an integral hub for bus travel
  • Celebrate and honor veterans in a more comprehensive way
  • Become a venue for community-oriented events
  • Become an entryway to the mall and offices

Within these goals, the Master Plan is designed to create an engaging urban park to meet the needs of the veteran community, the growing downtown population, and the surrounding office and retail uses of the park.

 

Existing Conditions

An extensive study of the landscape features within the Veterans Park revealed an underutilized open space in need of many improvements which would enhance the park’s quality and meet acceptable standards.

Planning Process

BETA Group, Inc. in collaboration with Northeast Collaborative Architects and CR3 LLP, was hired to work with the Ad-Hoc Committee to develop a master plan that would honor Stamford’s veterans, improve connectivity, activate the park and accommodate a wide variety of users. Starting in February, BETA began leading design charrettes with the committee in a process that started with understanding the park from the stand point of the various stakeholders. The committee was comprised of a diverse selection of individuals from the Stamford community, to ensure that all concerns were taken into consideration. The Team conceived several preliminary design options that accommodated the varied interests of the group and culminated with a final master plan that was supported unanimously by the committee. A public meeting was held on Tuesday June 16th, 2015 where the community was invited to see the master plan and offer input and feedback.

Members of the committee discussing preliminary design

The Veterans Park theme will encompass the entire new park, with space for quiet reflection as well as public events. The new park will have an enhanced plaza with red pavers in the center and five white stars, representing the five branches of the military. An amphitheater built into the re-graded hillside will seat about 300 people for events, with the possibility for additional seating in the plaza that could accommodate up to 1,000. Pathways will lead up the hill to the relocated granite monoliths and other monuments that honor Stamford’s war veterans, surrounded by benches and landscaping for a meaningful visitor experience. Connectivity from the bus stop to the surrounding buildings will be improved and safety concerns will be addressed by establishing greater visibility throughout the park.

Project Elements:

12. Service Stars

13. Transit Shelters

14. Retail Seating

15. South Lawn

16. Main Plaza

17. Existing Pedestrian Bridge

18. Traffic Improvements

19. Stairs

20. Memorial Courtyard

21. Plantings

22. Bike Path

1. Raised Intersection

2. Gateway Sign

3. North Lawn

4. Service Trees

5. Flagpole

6. Service Garden

7. Lincoln Memorial

8. Veterans Memorial Tablets

9. Dough-Boy Memorial

10. Stamford Savings Bank Entry

11. Amphitheater  Seating