ALPAR Landscape Upgrade Project for the Westchester Lagoon and Coastal Trail Confluence – 2014
The project site located at the intersection of the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail and at mile post 0.0 of the Lanie Fleischer Chester Creek Trail at the Westchester Lagoon will be undergoing improvements beginning in mid-August 2014. The project is spearheaded by Alaskans for Litter Prevention and Recycling (ALPAR) with a matching grant from the Anchorage Park Foundation Challenge Grant program and oversight from the Municipality of Anchorage Parks and Recreation Planning Department.
Located at the confluence of the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail and Chester Creek Trail, this small triangle of park will include upgraded landscaping using native plantings, recycled and repurposed materials donated by local businesses, as well as a 30 foot tall kinetic sculpture entitled “Transformation.” A permanent bottle/can recycling bin will be installed next to a new trash bin.
New design elements will encourage users to step off the trail to enjoy the views of the Lagoon. Intrinsic Landscapes of Anchorage is designing and installing the landscape improvements and local Artist Rebecca Lyon of Anchorage and metalworker, Rick Teel, are creating the unique kinetic sculpture with engineering done by UAA College of Engineering. The makeover’s design was inspired by New York City’s High Line Park built on an historic freight rail line in the middle of the city, one of the premier “repurposed” parks in the world. ALPAR’s goal is to highlight Anchorage’s commitment to litter prevention and recycling, reusing and repurposing.
Founded in 1982 by a group of business leaders, ALPAR is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization funded through the support of Alaskan businesses. ALPAR’s mission is to eliminate litter and increase economically viable recycling in Alaska. Programs throughout Alaska include the ALPAR Youth Litter Patrol Grant Program, the free yellow litterbag distribution for community cleanups, Flying Can and Flying Bottle Recycling Programs for rural communities and support for community recycling centers in the Railbelt through the ALPAR backhaul program. For more information please visit:http://www.alparalaska.com/ or LIKE ALPAR on Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/ALPARAlaska
About Intrinsic Landscapes
Intrinsic Landscapes will design and construct the landscape portion of the project. For more information on their work please visit:http://www.intrinsiclandscapes.com/
Here is a link to the design-build landscape construction project photo album - they will be documenting this process step by step starting construction in mid-August.
About the Artist and the Kinetic Raven Sculpture
Artist:Rebecca Lyon, Alaskan Native Contemporary Artist
Sculpture Title: “Transformation”
Medium: Aluminum and recycled materials
Dimensions: 30 feet tall, width of kinetic sculpture at the top of 15 feet
Overall description (by Rebecca Lyon):
“Transformation” is a kinetic sculpture featuring four aluminum ravens with five-foot wingspans. Set atop a 30-foot pole, the sculpted corvids will fly as if riding a thermal in the manner of their real-life counterparts, birds that are year-round and much-loved residents in Anchorage.
In many Alaska Native legends the raven is depicted as having the power to transform its self into many forms to accomplish its goals. The sculpture will celebrate the “transformative” efforts of Alaskans for Litter Prevention and Recycling (ALPAR) – specifically, that organization’s ongoing goal to improve our city’s environment.
Like the raven in Alaskan mythology, ALPAR encourages Alaskans to transform. In this case, that means transforming their trash: By reducing, repurposing and recycling waste, we conserve resources and live in greater harmony with our environment.
Historic use of this site by Alaska Natives is a perfect example of that goal. Our ancestors wasted nothing and took care not to damage or over-use the land that sustained them. Wherever they went, the sight of ravens flying overhead had great cultural significance. Even today the sight of ravens inspires joy and reverence in both Native and non-Native residents.
With its quartet of ravens riding an endless thermal, the sculpture will remind viewers that Nature is itself eternal and self-renewing – if we allow it to be. Even the most rugged country can be depleted by careless overuse. This is why ALPAR’s work is so important, and why the ALPAR message is reflected in the sculpture’s small footprint and use of recycled materials.
Mounting the art high up on the pole increases visibility from many different vantage points, including the heavily used Coastal Trail and Westchester Lagoon areas. Passengers on the Alaska Railroad will also be able to see the ravens soar. (Note: In a nod to unfortunate modern realities, the artist acknowledges that siting the sculpture 30 feet up greatly reduces the risk of vandalism.)
The University of Alaska Anchorage’s Mechanical Engineering and Civil Engineering department will provide all necessary engineering for this sculpture. A detailed maintenance plan and instructions will also be provided by UAA to the Parks and Recreation Department.
History of object:
ALPAR selected Rebecca Lyon’s proposal for the Transition sculpture because of her previous history of working with them, her reputation in the community of Alaska and her outstanding proposal.
History of Site:
In 2001, ALPAR, with approval from the MOA Parks Department, made a number of improvements to the triangle of land where the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail and the Chester Creek Trail at mile post 0.0 meet near the outlet of Chester Creek. ALPAR’s goal was to 1) provide a marker recognizing the formation of ALPAR and inform of its mission to keep Anchorage and Alaska litter free and recycling, and 2) contribute to the beautification of a significant park area that serves as the beginning of the Coastal Trail and the Chester Creek Trail.
At that time, ALPAR installed sod, 3 additional trees, decorative rocks, benches made from recycled material, border pavers, a plaque surrounded by pavers, shrubs and perennials and, later, a bike rack built by an Eagle Scout that depicted youth picking up litter. In 2008, volunteers installed a spruce tree in honor of Deborah Williams. Throughout the years, ALPAR has maintained the site in the summer with help from ALPAR staff, volunteers, Park Maintenance and contractors hired by ALPAR. The Municipality and Anchorage Parks Foundation have also made improvements by replacing the benches, sign maintenance and installing a litter receptacle.
Today, the site’s original improvements have disintegrated to a great degree. The plaque and surround is not repairable, moose have damaged trees, the border surrounding the site is damaged and the sod no longer looks good and is difficult to maintain due to lack of water. The pavement under benches retains significant water when it rains making benches unusable. Most importantly, the overall design is not in keeping with the other major improvement projects to the area: the outlet of Chester Creek to the west and the new park playground to the east.
Anchorage Park Foundation 2013 Challenge Grant Award Winner; multiple in-kind donations and matching grant funds by ALPAR.
For more information, please contact Project Planner: Maeve Nevins at 343-4135 or NevinsMV@muni.Org.