RiverWise and Beaver Falls stakeholders have selected a vacant building and adjacent park to act as a catalytic ecodistrict project that will be transformed into the Neighborhood North: Museum of Play children’s museum.
Catalytic development projects are public or private projects that focus on reinvigorating areas abandoned as a result of suburban migration in the 20th century, focusing on creating walkable urban places. They are planned and designed to cause a corresponding and complementary development reaction on surrounding properties.
In 2014, after sitting unoccupied for over three decades, the historic News Tribune Building was acquired by the Beaver Falls Community Development Corporation. Thanks to the visionary leadership and substantial investment of three local families, the roof of the structure was entirely replaced in 2017, stabilizing the building, while also providing a beautiful rooftop view of downtown and the hillside across the Beaver River. Engineering assessments of the facility have been conducted; gutting of the building has commenced, and a team of committed residents have been meeting in earnest throughout 2019 and 2020 to envision future uses for the space. The building is slated to house Neighborhood North: Museum of Play, a growing children’s museum being led by a committed group of local visionaries. The building provides endless opportunities to dream of and enact principled sustainable design that contributes richly to the life of the community.
The News Tribune Building is located on 13th Street, adjacent to the Carnegie Free Library of Beaver Falls. In 2018, Beaver Falls City Council voted to discontinue use of 13th Street so that it could be turned into a park adjoining the library’s property. When completing their submissions, designers will be asked to consider both the News Tribune Building and March Park as their site of intervention. The intent is to create an integrated amenity, blurring the boundaries between indoor and outdoor space, all the while utilizing sustainable building principles and green design throughout.
In May 2020, Beaver Falls engaged evolveEA to produce a conceptual design for the building. A conceptual design plan for the park was completed by Klavon Design Associates in May 2020. The News Tribune Building design incorporates elements to represent each of the six quality-of-life issue areas, including:
Equity: children’s museum
Food: café and cooking classes
Water: stormwater management practices
Energy: green construction practices and demonstration projects, potential use of solar energy
Air: green construction practices and demonstration projects, pollinator gardens, onsite air quality monitoring, and considerable green space
Mobility: location within a walkable community along a major arterial road
Next, Beaver Falls will solicit for community feedback on the proposed design and will work to acquire funding to construct the park and renovate the building.
Read the full Beaver Falls Ecodistrict report here: Beaver Falls Ecodistrict Vision Statements.
Starting January 31, 2022:
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