Scenic Hudson's Long Dock Park in Beacon Receives SITES™ Certification for Sustainable Landscapes

Thursday, August 15, 2013 -- Scenic Hudson
Contact: 

Jay Burgess
Director of Communications, Scenic Hudson, Inc.
Tel: (845) 473-4440 x222 Cell: (914) 489-0362 Fax: (845) 473-0740
jburgess@scenichudson.org

HUDSON VALLEY (Beacon)—Scenic Hudson's Long Dock Park in Beacon, Dutchess County, has become one of eight pilot projects newly certified by the Sustainable Sites Initiative™ (SITES™) for its sustainable site design, construction and maintenance. The waterfront park joins 15 other projects that have received certification since January 2012.

Scenic Hudson's Long Dock Park was awarded a three-star rating by SITES, an interdisciplinary effort led by the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin and the United States Botanic Garden to create a voluntary, national rating system and guidelines for sustainable landscapes of all types, with or without buildings. Certification is based on The Sustainable Sites Initiative: Guidelines and Benchmarks 2009.

In May 2010, Scenic Hudson's Long Dock Park was one of more than 150 national and international projects chosen by the SITES partners to test out the four-star rating system and guidelines.

Scenic Hudson's Long Dock Park transformed a 14-acre man-made peninsula on the Hudson River in Beacon, N.Y., from a degraded, post-industrial relic to a major waterfront park that realizes themes of recovery, remediation, reuse and re-engagement. Features of the park include an environmental artwork by renowned artist George Trakas; ADA-accessible paths; areas for picnicking, river gazing and dog-walking; a kayak pavilion and beach for storing and launching kayaks and canoes; an outdoor classroom area; and public education and interpretive programming. The park has been a major public amenity for the Mid-Hudson Valley.

"We are pleased to be among those taking a lead in applying the SITES rating system to enhance the environmental, social and economic aspects of our projects," said Scenic Hudson Senior Project Manager Margery Groten, who directed design and construction of the project for Scenic Hudson. "This certification is evidence of our commitment to the environment and to our communities."

Landscape architects Reed Hilderbrand led the design team responsible for Long Dock Park. "We're proud to have led, along with our friends at Scenic Hudson, a stellar team of architects, engineers, builders and contractors, volunteers and a diverse set of experts from the sciences—ecologists, soils and remediation scientists, grassland specialists—in achieving this level of recognition by SITES," said Gary Hilderbrand, partner-in-charge for the project. "A park of this kind is not a singular, static, completed achievement; it is really a working, changing, ongoing force. By embracing this dynamic, the SITES approach demonstrates the value of design, economy, adaptive management and stewardship on sites of local and national heritage."

Among the specific sustainable design benchmarks met by Scenic Hudson's Long Dock Park were:

  • new public access to a portion of the Hudson River that was formerly industrial
  • rehabilitated and newly created wetlands
  • innovative stormwater management systems
  • extensive installations of native plant communities

Among those on the project team are:

  • Scenic Hudson
  • Reed Hilderbrand, LLC
  • Divney Tung Schwalbe, LLP
  • Ecosytems Strategies, Inc.
  • Architecture Research Office
  • Kirchhoff-Consigli Construction Management, Inc.

Since 2005, the SITES partners, in conjunction with a diverse group of stakeholder organizations, have worked to transform land development and management practices with this first national rating system for sustainable landscapes. The guidelines apply to any type of designed landscape, with or without buildings, including shopping malls, streetscapes, subdivisions, corporate and academic campuses, transportation corridors, parks and recreation areas, and single family homes.

The U.S. Green Building Council, a stakeholder in the Sustainable Sites Initiative, anticipates incorporating the SITES guidelines and performance benchmarks into future iterations of its LEED® Green Building Rating System™. While LEED minimizes the carbon footprint, SITES demonstrates how a landscape can actually sequester carbon and regenerate living systems. Working together these initiatives will further revolutionize sustainable design.

The SITES Rating System includes 15 prerequisites and 51 different credits, measuring performance in areas such as the initial site selection, water, soil, vegetation, materials, human health and well-being, construction and maintenance—adding up to a 250-point scale. The rating system recognizes levels of achievement by obtaining 40, 50, 60 or 80 percent of available points with one through four stars, respectively.

About Scenic Hudson—Celebrating Our 50th Anniversary in 2013

Scenic Hudson works to protect and restore the Hudson River and its majestic landscape as an irreplaceable national treasure and a vital resource for residents and visitors. A crusader for the valley since 1963, we are credited with saving fabled Storm King Mountain from a destructive industrial project and launching the modern grass-roots environmental movement. Today with more than 25,000 ardent supporters, we are the largest environmental group focused on the Hudson River Valley. Our team of experts combines land acquisition, support for agriculture, citizen-based advocacy and sophisticated planning tools to create environmentally healthy communities, champion smart economic growth, open up riverfronts to the public and preserve the valley's inspiring beauty and natural resources. To date Scenic Hudson has created or enhanced more than 60 parks, preserves and historic sites up and down the Hudson River and conserved over 30,000 acres. www.sh50.org and www.scenichudson.org

About Reed Hilderbrand, LLC

Reed Hilderbrand operates at the vital intersection of nature and culture—integrating responsible care for the land with the ordinary and extraordinary needs of modern life. Active since 1997, the practice today has 40 landscape architects, designers and thinkers with projects under way in North America and Europe. The firm has extensive experience with institutional clients, often carefully negotiating the process of rehabilitation and change within highly valued settings. Reed Hilderbrand has received significant national recognition, including the highest honor bestowed on a practice by the American Society of Landscape Architects upon—Firm of the Year for 2013. www.reedhilderbrand.com

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Editor's note: SITES media contacts: Terence Poltrack, ASLA, tpoltrack@asla.org, 202 216 7852; Saralee Tiede, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin, stiede@wildflower.org, 512 232 0104; Laura Condeluci, lcondelu@aoc.gov, U.S. Botanic Garden, 202 226 4145. Media inquiries and requests for images can also be sent to media@sustainablesites.org.

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