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Community Engagement Shapes Future of Imani Commons Park Design

Community Residents Meet for Second Planning Session for Future Imani Village Town Green.

Residents and stakeholders of Kingswood Community Center (KCC) convened on Tuesday, April 16, 2024, to participate in a pivotal event shaping the design of the upcoming Imani Commons park. Hosted at Kingswood Community Center, the event attracted between 30 and 40 participants, including representatives from REACH, Pennrose, WRT, and KCC teams, alongside enthusiastic community members.

The session commenced with a site visit to the future park site on Bowers Street, providing attendees with a firsthand perspective crucial for aligning design visions with practical spatial considerations. Following the site visit, discussions moved indoors where updates were shared by Ms. Cookie, title, and the KCC team, followed by project insights from Pennrose concerning the Imani Village initiative.

The central focus of the evening’s agenda was the presentations by the WRT team, who presented three distinct design schemes: Loop, Porch, and Rooms. Each scheme was meticulously detailed, offering variations in layout, accessibility, and program integration. Participants actively scrutinized each design’s potential to meet community needs and preferences.

During the subsequent breakout sessions, attendees had the opportunity to explore each design station—Loop, Porch, and Rooms—providing feedback directly to WRT team members. Discussions centered on program preferences, spatial layout, and accessibility, with participants offering valuable insights on amenities such as play areas, sports facilities, and community gathering spaces. 

Key themes emerged from these discussions, highlighting community priorities such as multi-generational accessibility, safety, and the integration of active and passive recreational areas. Concerns were raised about park boundary visibility and the need for designated spaces that foster community interaction across all age groups.

A pivotal aspect of the event was the program voting phase, where participants expressed solid preferences for amenities such as combined play and splash areas, fitness zones, and passive recreational spaces like picnic groves and quiet nooks. This feedback will play a crucial role in refining the final park design, ensuring it reflects the diverse needs and aspirations of Kingswood residents.

Looking ahead, the design team emphasized their commitment to incorporating community feedback into the final stages of design development. The forthcoming third engagement event promises to unveil the synthesized design proposal, providing one last opportunity for community input before finalization.

The Kingswood community’s active participation and insightful feedback underscore the collaborative spirit driving the Imani Commons project forward. With continued community support and engagement, the future park is poised to become a vibrant hub for social interaction and recreational enjoyment for years to come