The outcome of "Baggs Squared" is a series of viable short and long term urban planning and design proposals for increasing the environmental quality, cohesion, identity and livability of the neighborhood and district. The plans and accompanying planning document are being used to undertake follow-up planning, pursue funding and inform actions by the Bagg's Square Association as well as by collaborating Agencies with jurisdiction over parts of the neighborhood. One example of an immediate outcome is the proposed entry-gateway and neighborhood-based Bagg's Square Park. The proposed park will transform an historically significant site which is currently an unused, derelict, contaminated, highway interchange-dominated lot. Park development is moving forward with funding having been secured by R2G Utica, in Fall 2014, from the DEC's Brownfield Program for the initial site cleanup. Another example of an outcome is that NYS DOT was able to secure funds for Oriskany Boulevard redesign with "Baggs Squared" proposals in hand. The boulevard's redesign will incorporate greenway development and green infrastructure concepts as favored by neighborhood citizens. Overall the project strengthened cross-sector collaboration, advanced funding and implementation, educated and informed local constituents about urban and neighborhood sustainability and increased participation and capacity in community-engaged planning.
impact statement issue
The Baggs Square Project is a direct outcome of Rust to Green's ongoing work in Utica, NY. The Bagg's Square District is undergoing community-driven revitalization spearheaded by a group of local investors and citizens coming together as the Bagg's Square Association. They sought assistance from Rust to Green in developing design and planning visions for the area that could be used to pursue funding, undertake policy changes, and catalyze more integrated and holistic urban thinking and planning. Populations affected include the immediate residents, property owners, visitors, businesses, workers and agencies in the area. Additionally, this area which is a prime downtown destination drawing users and shoppers from within and outside the City.
This area has suffered extreme urban blight and decline and is largely perceived as being unsafe, non-cohesive, inaccessible, derelict, unfriendly to pedestrians, unattractive and lacking in public space and a sense of place, character and identity. To revitalize it into a 21st century green urban destination and neighborhood requires cross-sector collaboration, proactive planning and design thinking, and informed, motivated and engaged citizenry able to advocate for their needs.
impact statement response
This project had its beginnings in Summer 2013 when 4 summer R2G Research Fellows, under the leadership of R2G NY Director, Paula Horrigan, began working with R2G Utica and the nascent Baggs Square Association (BSA). That summer initial concerns and desires for the neighborhood began to be articulated by the BSA as R2G Fellows collected and compiled data about the neighborhood. In Fall 2013 collaborators from R2G NY (Cornell), R2G Utica and the BSA began developing the strategy and approach they'd use for undertaking planning and visioning during a concentrated period in Spring 2014. Students in Cornell's Rust to Green Service-Learning Capstone Studio, taught by P. Horrigan, joined the project in late January 2014 and engaged in working with community partners through May 2014. From February to April, three participatory community-design workshops were held in an empty Bagg's Square storefront which became the project's home base. These workshops were devoted to engaging in knowledge exchange and transactive design dialogues related to Baggs Square current and future neighborhood development. During this period, R2G Utica and the Baggs Square Association also undertook a neighborhood survey to identify current perceptions and hopes for the neighborhood. A final May workshop took place at the Farmers Market Wing of the Utica Station wherein final plans and an accompanying planning document were shared and discussed. Over summer 2014 all partners worked on preparing applications for NY Consolidated Funding Applications and DEC Brownfield funding. A summer R2G Fellow also worked further on planning documents and supporting this effort.
impact statement summary
"Baggs Squared" was a 9-month neighborhood placemaking visioning process facilitated by Rust to Green NY and Rust to Green Utica and involving the Bagg's Square Association and an array of cross-sector collaborators representing such groups as the City of Utica and the NY State DOT.