The visioning plan includes a new riverfront park, an updated downtown plan for the City of Evansville, and the identification of catalyst sites along 50 miles of the Ohio River.
Evansville, IN (May 09, 2023) – The Evansville Region has announced the selection of renowned global design firm Sasaki as the lead consultant for the Ohio Riverfront Visioning and Strategic Plan, which will reconnect Downtown Evansville to its waterfront and draw new investment to the region. Sasaki’s selection was awarded through a request for proposal process, led by the Evansville Regional Economic Partnership (EREP), Downtown Evansville Economic Improvement District (EID), and other regional partners.
Evansville residents have expressed their desire for a stronger connection to the Ohio River for almost a century, ever since the City’s first master plan in 1928. Throughout Evansville’s history, walls, levies, and raised roadbeds built to prevent flooding have deterred development along the river. Having secured $900,000 in grant funding, the Evansville Region chose Sasaki to make that century-old vision a reality. “Reflecting the critical importance of quality of place to attract and retain talent and drive economic growth, the Evansville Region will enhance the region’s riverfront ‘Front Porch’ gathering spaces through this work with Sasaki,” says Tara Barney, CEO of EREP.
Sasaki comes to Evansville with decades of experience planning world-class parks and business districts. Its portfolio in architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning spans the globe, but some of its most cutting-edge projects have been waterfronts in the Midwest. From the fully-built Chicago Riverwalk and Smale Riverfront Park in Cincinnati, to the Riverfront Park and Vision Plan underway in Davenport, Iowa, Sasaki has developed deep expertise in designing flood-resilient parks and plans that bring new life and investment to downtown areas.
For decades, American cities have turned their backs to the rivers that originally defined them. The Ohio River Vision and Strategic Plan refocuses on the river to create a stronger connection between downtown Evansville and surrounding towns.
“For decades, American cities have turned their backs to the rivers that originally defined them. The Ohio River Vision and Strategic Plan refocuses on the river to create a stronger connection between downtown Evansville and surrounding towns. From a new riverfront park, to an updated downtown plan for the City of Evansville, to identifying catalyst sites along 50 miles of the Ohio River, Sasaki’s interdisciplinary team is thrilled to work with the Evansville Region on this incredible vision,” said Anna Cawrse, Principal Landscape Architect at Sasaki.
The Evansville Region and Sasaki are committed to a vision of a plan that will strengthen not only Evansville, but also its Ohio River neighbors, from Mount Vernon to Newburgh. The planned bridge carrying I-69 across the river at Evansville is a catalyst for connectivity. Along with planning new traffic patterns for the riverfront, Sasaki is tasked with encouraging mobility between these three riverfront communities. This investment in regional transportation will forge new links between the cities of Southwest Indiana, enabling its cities and towns to reach their full economic potential.
“Connections between Downtown Evansville and the region are critical to the success of all of Southwest Indiana. We’re excited to be guiding this planning process which will leverage our most underutilized asset, the Ohio River, and inspire private and public investments which grow our region,” said Josh Armstrong, President, Downtown Evansville EID.
With Sasaki chosen as the Evansville Region’s lead consultant, the Ohio Riverfront Visioning and Strategic Plan now moves into its first conceptual phases. This will include a rigorous process of public outreach to ensure that Evansville residents, stakeholders, and neighbors in Southwest Indiana have a direct say in what’s next for the Ohio Riverfront. Once this process is complete, Sasaki will assemble the formal plan for acceptance by the Evansville Regional Economic Partnership, and timelines will be established for riverfront enhancements.