Groundwork Studio worked with community members and the City of Las Vegas to actualize the conceptual master plan that was created through a Community Design Workshop in 2018. Representatives from every part of Las Vegas and its surroundings participated in a three-day workshop that included discussion, debate and idea exchange regarding the future of the Gallinas River Park. The final construction documents are a compilation of all the ideas, recommendations and desires expressed during the workshop and through individual and group conversations for the past three years. The document represents how the best solutions come from compromise and collaboration.
The new plan gives the unattractive chain link fence separating the trail from Highlands University campus a makeover with the addition of vines and imaginative artwork. It also replaces the unsightly concrete barrier further south with custom designed, river-themed fencing. The utilitarian pipe railing at the north end of the trail that closes it to vehicles will be replaced with a custom gate that complements the new fencing. Other sites dotted along the river walk will be devoted to public art.
Opposite the old trolley barn (now the McCaffrey Media Arts Building), a small sculpture garden sits adjacent to an abandoned rail spur. A fallen cottonwood at the south end of the river walk will be converted to something a fanciful art pieces instead of being hauled away. Many of the sites up and down the trail will become small gathering places to contemplate scenic views, appreciate works of art or simply find peace and respite.
Any good river park requires play spaces for children and prime fishing spots. Strategically placed flat-top boulders and fishing decks are spotted up and down the river and provide reliable access to the fish. Since it is essential that park amenities be accessible to all, an ADA (Americans with Disabilities) fishing/observation platform is planned at the bird watching pond. On either side of Bridge Street, two nature play areas provide children a space to gather and let their imaginations rule. Other park essentials include an amphitheater, an outdoor classroom, more trash cans, lighting for safety and walkway repair. The dated exercise equipment will be replaced and grouped in a single designated space for easier access.
With such thick vegetation, the area is in need of thinning—a process that will be directed by Tierra y Montes Soil and Conservation District – Las Vegas. The work will be carefully supervised with understory, dead growth and invasive species of trees such as Siberian Elm removed. All parties concerned with both river restoration and park revitalization have been attentive to the need to work together, collaborating and communicating as they progress towards completion.