The city of Marietta, Ohio, has contracted with Woolpert to provide landscape architecture, engineering, planning and design services for the restoration and renovation of Muskingum Park, which houses the Start Westward Monument, and the adjacent Museum District.
The multiphase project supports the city’s vision to enhance the park’s amenities, aesthetics and accessibility, while preserving its place in history.
Marietta is the oldest city in Ohio, established in 1788. The Start Westward Monument honors the pioneers who settled in Marietta and began the nation’s expansion into the Northwest Territory. The monument was designed by Gutzon Borglum, who sculpted the presidential busts on Mount Rushmore, and dedicated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1938.
The Start Westward Monument is the centerpiece of the Muskingum Park. The city owns the park, and the U.S. Department of the Interior owns the land beneath the monument and the four sandstone pylons at each end of the park. Woolpert will provide the overall master plan for improvements to the park and immediate area, including the monument, the adjacent streetscape, parking and lighting. The renovation will improve access to the park, the Museum District and the regional trail system.
The first phase of the project is underway, and a temporary cover will soon be placed over the monument to protect it from the elements. The first phase will focus on improving accessibility and safety, designing roadway and sidewalk improvements in accordance with Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) standards, expanding parking, replacing curbs and ramps, installing and upgrading period lighting, designing a restroom facility, designing specifications for wayfinding signage, and ensuring the site is compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design.
Woolpert Transportation Engineer Paul Denny, who is managing the project with Rankin, said improving access for people and vehicles is key to the community’s enjoyment of the park.
Additional phases of the project include renovating the park’s gazebo and widening and resurfacing trails, as well as possibly constructing a building around the monument.
Marietta City Engineer Joseph Tucker said the city appreciates Woolpert’s experience and expertise across multiple aspects of engineering, architecture and park development.
At least two public meetings will be held this year to solicit community feedback; one likely at the end of March, and the other in late August. Plans are scheduled to be submitted in March 2021, with construction to begin in mid-2021.