In conjunction with Lowell Housing Authority (LHA), A&M is providing land survey, civil engineering, landscape architecture, and construction consultation services for the site improvements at South Common Village; a HUD-aided property managed by the LHA.
The project was awarded to A&M by the LHA Evaluation Committee to assist with providing new aesthetically pleasing and safer, secure spaces for the residents throughout the exterior of the development. South Common Village is comprised of nine (9) buildings, including six (6) high rise buildings, located adjacent to a large public park known as South Common. The housing development is one of the first introductions to Lowell seen by drivers approaching from Route 3 and the Lowell Connector.
Katherine Andruchuk, EIT, is the Senior Project Engineer responsible for, federal and state-aided, Housing Authority projects. Ms. Andruchuk is providing the civil site design in partnership with LHA’s in-house Capital Asset Manager, Laura Watts.
“Unlike most of our Housing Authority projects, this one has a different approach. We can be more creative with the esthetics” said Andruchuk.
Civil engineering site improvements include the removal and reconstruction of deteriorating asphalt walkways throughout the interior of the property. Curb cuts, perimeter parking areas, concrete patios, and walkways will be rehabilitated to meet ADA compliance and correct potential HUD Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) findings. New concrete pads for future benches and tables are included throughout the development, along with new concrete dumpster pads and decorative fence enclosures.
The property location lends itself to pass-through foot traffic and due to its location and open accessibility, transient crime. A&M retained the services of Michael Mercer Consulting to review the property with the Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) approach. The civil design has incorporated CPTED solutions including a new decorative, open fence that will be installed around the perimeter of the property. Fieldstone piers will be constructed at each side of all exterior pedestrian access points and several large fieldstone sign structures identifying the property will be constructed around the perimeter of the development. Together, the perimeter fence, fieldstone piers, and property signage will assist in access control to the property and identifying the properties use to the general public.
Landscape improvements have been designed by A&M Landscape Architect Bethany Dermody, PLA. Design elements include walking paths, a pollinator garden, and new exterior gathering spaces. A specific focus is on creating a sense of welcome and community with special attention to detail that helps the residents feel safer within the property. Old shrubs and concrete walls that hindered visibility at night were removed. Mature large shade trees were preserved including a Birch tree that was kept as a focal point. A couple of full canopy trees were taken down to allow more natural light into the area.
Asphalt walkways and concrete walls have been removed and the old courtyards will soon be replaced in a new configuration with more open grass space. Specific plantings to attract pollinators include a native wildflower meadow slope and a perennial pollinator garden near a new pergola. A new patio space outside of the resident’s cafeteria gives a grand view overlooking one of the new courtyard spaces. A seat wall with a fieldstone finish at the pergola base will match several new property signage structures and site entrance piers along the perimeter of the development.
A&M retained Nangle Engineering Inc. to include electrical components throughout the landscape. Spotlights will illuminate the signs at night and receptacles on the pergolas and ground boxes within the courtyards will provide an electrical supply source for future community events.
Sunshine Paving Corporation is currently working on the new hardscape. This work is anticipated to be completed by fall. New plantings will be installed next spring.