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JH Land Trust shares design plans for ‘The Block’

JACKSON, Wyo. — Ever since the community rallied together to ‘Save the Block,’ the Jackson Hole Land Trust (JHLT) has been busy designing the block.

What the community was assured of last August was that the block would not be dominated by a largescale hotel. Historic buildings would remain in place and open space would be preserved. Exactly how that would come about and what might take shape was largely unknown until now.

The final landscape design plans for the Save the Block project were unveiled last week. Local landscape architecture firm Hershberger Design worked with the JHLT to design the landscape plan, marking another step by the JHLT toward creating and enhancing a community-friendly greenspace on the historic Genevieve Block.

Aerial layout of ‘The Block.’ Courtesy image

The greenspace on The Block was protected in August 2019 following a four-month-long fundraising campaign led by the JHLT during which over 2,600 individuals donated more than $7 million to purchase the conservation easement and underlying fee on the greenspace. Additional contributions to the Save the Block campaign were designated for funding the design and creation of a space where the community can safely enjoy a quiet piece of nature in the heart of bustling downtown Jackson.

Once completed, the 1.2 acres of community greenspace will offer low impact pedestrian connections, plenty of shade under the community-cherished cottonwood trees, open common areas to gather and socialize, and functional access to the local businesses that inhabit the preserved historic buildings on the block.

“We are honored to collaborate with the Jackson Hole Land Trust on The Block landscape,” said Bonny Hershberger, VP of Hershberger Design. “As a local firm, we followed and supported the campaign to save this block through its entirety, and throughout the design process we remained committed to designing a space that is inspired by the community’s strong vision and passion for this important piece of our town. As we envisioned the possibilities of the greenspace, we concentrated on capturing the spirit of this project for current and future generations to experience while visiting the block.”

Phase one of the construction process started in early June and includes utility updates and enhancements as required by the Town of Jackson, including burying the power lines that currently run through the property and establishing an access route that serves block businesses.

Café G LLC, the anonymous family who was responsible for placing the entire block under contract and purchasing the parcel to hold during the Town of Jackson plat design and approval process, is managing the utility work which must be completed before the initiation of phase two of construction which includes the landscape design implementation and construction.

The landscape design plan reflects the historic community use of the greenspace on the block as a place to gather, escape the frenzy of town, patronize local businesses, and reconnect to the history and roots of Jackson. Image: Courtesy Hershberger Design

Visitors to the greenspace on the block should expect closures to the property during the utility burials and portions of the landscape construction process throughout summer 2020.

The landscape design plan reflects the historic community use of the greenspace on the block as a place to gather, escape the frenzy of town, patronize local businesses, and reconnect to the history and roots of Jackson. Upon completion, the improved greenspace will offer public access to a much larger greenspace that features meandering pathways, new tree and bush plantings that increase shade and provide a porous barrier to traffic and noise, and dispersed benches and natural seating throughout the space.

The Land Trust is also working with town engineers to confirm feasibility for keeping Cache Creek daylighted through the property to provide visitors with access to water features and a historic perspective of where the Creek originally ran through town.

“During a time of increasing polarization, the ‘Block’ has been a symbol of unity,” said JHLT’s Jenny Wolfrom. “It was a project that brought the whole community together and is a testament to what a group of people can do when we work together towards a collective vision. Throughout the year, the JHLT has been working with Hershberger Designs to create a design plan for the block that is inspired by the community spirit of the project and provides a peaceful, inclusive greenspace in the heart of downtown Jackson that reflects and supports the vitality and history of the Block.”

“During a time of increasing polarization, the ‘Block’ has been a symbol of unity,” said JHLT’s Jenny Wolfrom. Image: Courtesy Hershberger Design

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