The City of Lancaster hired Mahan Rykiel to work with the community to create concepts for the renovation of the plaza known as Lancaster Square through a collaborative, creative placemaking process. The plaza is in the heart of the City and it was imperative that residents from all quadrants of Lancaster feel ownership. The goal of the project was to increase programming and recreational potential for the area as part of a revitalized block in the heart of the City and to incorporate a public art component.
Beginning in the summer of 2018, the project team coordinated several public input opportunities, including participation at the annual Celebrate Lancaster festival on July 29th. During the festival, the project team first introduced the project and asked attendees, “What could you see here?”. At subsequent public workshops, attendees completed site evaluations and engaged in discussions about their vision for Lancaster Square. These dialogues and the collective input revealed the importance of creating a defined, yet flexible space that welcomes all. The final concept satisfies community desires and expresses Lancaster’s identity with an innovative design that presents an inviting, comfortable space which offers a variety of opportunities for enjoyment—from outdoor dining, seating areas, a reading room, kids’ play areas, and green infrastructure. The water feature even incorporates a stylized Lancaster Rose, the symbol of the City.
After successfully presenting three different design concepts, the City agreed upon a scheme, and MRA is beginning work on the next phase of design.