By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
ONEONTA – With a labyrinth, an orchard and a 40-foot slide set in the hillside, Stimson Landscape Architects, Cambridge, Mass., presented their plan for Huntington Park during a Zoom meeting this evening.
“This really is a bright spot in a difficult era,” said Huntington Memorial Library executive director Tina Winstead. “It’s a design I believe Henry Huntington would be proud of.”
Phase One was detailed during this evening’s meeting, with the plans for the Playland and the Literary Gardens.
The playland would incorporate spaces at the top and bottom of the hill, including a labyrinth, a small play area, a sledding hill and a 40-foot long slide built into the hillside. “It’s a very unique element that will draw from all parts of the town,” said Glen Valentine, principal. “And to get to the top of the slide, there will be a rock scramble, which gives kids an opportunity to explore the hillside.”
Sean Kline, a Stimson associate who grew up in the area, said that bluestone would be incorporated into the design, including the overlook and the rock scramble. “Table Rocks is my favorite spot in Oneonta,” he said. “It gives you an amazing context for the city and the materials of the region.”
The gardens, said Valentine, would function as a series of “outdoor classrooms,” each with specific plantings, such as a pollinator garden or an herb/medicinal garden.
There would even be a “literary garden,” which the library could change yearly to tie to a particular theme. “One year it could be colonial plants or a World War II ‘Victory Garden’,” he said.
In all, the full redesign would include a performance space in the lower part of the park and orchards in the arboretum at the top, similar to the ones Huntington had on the family farm the library is built on.
Kline said they also took inspiration from the cities elements, including the colleges atop “wild hillsides” and Susquehanna River, which they pay homage to with a rain garden.
Residents are invited to take a survey through Thursday, Sept. 24 for a better look at the plans and to give feedback. Additionally, the presentation will also be available on the library’s website.