When Consumers Energy vacated its Albert Kahn building in downtown Jackson, the City acquired the property and determined that the building could not be re-used. The building was demolished, leaving a noticeable gap in the center of the downtown, but opening the site to possibilities for new use.
The City’s initial plan was to activate the space in an interim capacity while it sought a developer for a mixed-use redevelopment of the site. As such, the City executed a design competition for the interim use among three firms who were short-listed to prepare its Community Master Plan, with the sole criteria that the expenditure be capped at $300,000.
Beckett & Raeder’s design plan envisioned an attractive, lively space with a food truck court radiating from a central gathering and café seating plaza with catenary lighting. The park is bookended by an open lawn that serves as an informal performance space and a pavilion meant to house a mosaic mural depicting the history of electricity (prepared by renowned pottery artist Glidden Parker in 1969) that was salvaged from the Consumers Building prior to demolition. The City Council and staff were so pleased with the design that they chose to invest more than double the planned amount and make the project a permanent addition to Downtown Jackson, with the Mayor remarking that it would become Jackson’s version of Central Park.
Blackman Park Expansion
2016 Merit Award for Landscape Architectural Design
Michigan Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects