he design for Front Beach evolved in a week long intensive charrette environment. Working with the planning team of Torti Callas Partners from Los Angeles, California, CPLA developed a unique concept of transforming a man made sand beach into a one and a half mile long linear park. Other long-term ideas were proposed for the harbor area, as well as for undeveloped private parcels along Front Beach Drive.
Continuing the design process with Brown, Mitchell, and Alexander, Inc. a local engineering firm, details were developed for a vegetated swale between the road and the walkway to treat the first flush of runoff from the paved road. We designed a custom seat wall with the work of Walter Anderson (a famous local artist) embedded into the concrete.
The wall serves several functions, such as a linear work of art, a permanent place to sit, and a barrier for wind-blown sand onto the walkway and the road. Other amenities such as lighting, bollards, showers and site furnishings were incorporated into the plan to create a park environment.
Currently fire pits are used frequently along the beach, and the “great lawn” has played host to croquet tournaments and weddings overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. Walkers, joggers, strollers, and bikers are frequently seen passing by enjoying this signature waterfront park. Occasionally, an impromptu chess match will break out on the chessboard at the Elephant Walk.
It is rewarding for us to see people use the park the way that was intended.