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Nichols Park Framework Plan



As of August, 2003. The Nichols Park Advisory Council at its July, 2003 meeting said the plan could be approved if certain questions are answered. The questions being answered, the Council approved the plan in August.

· Zone 2: The 54th “gateway” is too crowded and detracts from the goal of clarifying circulation paths and integrating the older and newer park sections.
· Zone 3.The play areas near 54th are not to be fenced.
· Paths and walks should be configured so as to discourage vehicles driving on the grass.
· Zone 4. At the hill and ball field, trees are shown, or alternatively removed, where the council thinks inappropriate and proposed contours and gradients should be reconsidered. The ball field floodlight should be removed and lighting specified as dark skies and salt and pepper poles.
· Zone 5, south end, is fine except for an odd triangular section in the walk at Kenwood. (The reference to a new sculpture should be removed.
· Use of recycled materials should be specified.

The following schematics were given for Council review in early August and were reviewed at the August council meeting. The Council approved the Framework Plan subject to all proposals being developed in full consultation with the Council before implementation (agreed to). The Council does not agree that any specific design for the formal garden at the north fountain is included in the Framework Plan.

First, the notes on the schematics:

A tree list was included on the plan—species list partially out of date in 2016, plus there have been tree replacements, especially one with about 30 trees of different species mainly in the center of the park in fall 2016. The trees suggested in 2013 were
Ornamentals- Craetegus var., Malus (incl. crabapple), Amalanchier (juneberry),
Betula nigra (birch), Magnolia (saucer)
Shade- Aesculus (buckeye), Celtis occidentalis (hackberry), Fraxinus (green and white ash- obv. Unacceptable), Gymnoc ladus, Liriodendron (tulip tree), (Kentucky coffee), Quercus (white swamp and burr oak), Rubinia (black locust), Tillia americanus (linden).

Comments on the sheets, south to north

(all park) Unify park with salt and pepper light poles, acorn fixtures, and park benches; formalize desire paths.

Define access/egress points of existing (Kimbark baby) playground) with combination of fencing and shrubs
Plantings to provide shade relief at sandbox and to act as barrier between existing softball field and playground; (place) defining shrubbery.

Reconfigure existing softball area to conform to softball only. Eliminate existing floodlight …along the right field foul line. (These done?)

(South Fountain) Open views to water feature with perennial plantings (and) restore and elevate existing sculpture (these done?)

(Southwest corner). Relocated gateway entrance (path).

Shade trees and understory along 55th St. (A number of linen trees were move to there about 5 years ago.)

(New gateway and walk with plantings from Kenwood/55th corner to South Fountain.)

(north of Neighborhood Club) Plantings to define softball outfield area.

(Hill northeast side) Re-engineer hill to provide additional sledding opportunities.

(between hill and older kid’s playground) Plantings to define dog friendly area and separate from playground.

New playground and spray pool with age appropriate play area, benches, drinking fountain and lighting.

(54th St. interface- Kimbark) Reconfigure walks for Park District maintenance vehicles and install a raised bed welcome garden with irrigation.

Add trees (to west of there) if existing utilities allow. (partly done?)

53rd and north section

(Overall) Unify park with standard salt an pepper light poles, acorn fixtures and park benches; formalize desire paths.

Replace all dead or missing shade trees and ornamental trees along the north limit of the park. Maintain original shading.

Provide a new double-entry walkway, with a planter. Each walkway is to be a minimum width of 6’ and the planter a minimum width of 8’. (done?)

Maintain existing 10’ ? (to?) maintain existing views (into the park?)

New Plaza Area. New pavement materials to be consistent with existing fountain plaza (the community expressed a preference for pavers), a stage area along the north gymnasium wall defined with a different pattern, curved planting areas, with a variety of trees, shrubs and perennial ground cover. Replace the automatic sprinkler system in all planting beds. Locate the “Egg” sculpture and base in view of the fieldhouse entrance. If feasible, incorporate accent lighting of the sculpture, landscape and benches.

On west façade (of gym) install shrubs and perennials, ground covers and irrigation system.

Rehabilitate existing flagstone walkway (from main n-s walk ne to plaza).

(along main n-s walk) Replace all dead and missing trees. Maintain original spacing.

(West side of new park- where exactly?) Formalize existing “Y” pathways.

Add surface stabilizer to existing Meadow pathway.


ZONE NOTES (from the Council?)

Zone 2, East West Gateway at 54th Street

Improve pathways and circulation between north and south parts of the park.

Provide some kind of focal point at 54th Street

Zone 3, Open lawn, berm area, playground

Add spray pool

Add small children's equipment

Do not isolate play area (NPAC: not fenced, final silent)

Zone 4, Small kids' playground and athletic field

Return the ball field to softball dimensions (60 ft. bases (NPAC: without interfering trees)

Leave toddlers' playground intact

Re grade hill for sledding without tree removal

South gateway and Neighborhood Club

Install a path from Kenwood /55th to fountain wit appropriate plantings and benches

Create a noise barrier along 55th Street

rearrange plantings (and paths/entry) at fountain


All light fixtures to be non-polluting "dark skies" compliant with poles consistent with existing fixtures on south side of park, using salt and pepper poles.

Furniture and infrastructure of recycled materials

Infrastructure maintenance free and graffiti resistant


Schematics of the Nichols Park Framework Plan 2003



Overall Priorities

Zone priorities

(Items already completed are omitted)
Edited, 4-13-2016

ZONE 1 - building addtion and garden plaza

•1 Repair Sprinkler System
•2 Repair N. fountain
•3 Repair existing blue light poles with concrete ones to match those in S. section of park
•4 Establish planting & maintenance plan for split sidewalk planter box
•5 Berm & shrub line to remain: Add curb along N, sidewalk edge to prevent runoff onto
53rd St. sidewalk
•6 Replace meadow storage bin
•7 Replace existing emergency phone with new phone.
•8 Reinstall pavers on convenience paths, especially on path nearest to ‘pump house’
•9 Replace “chess” tables with usable ones having flush-mounted chess boards
•10 Stabilize Meadow path
•11 Determine & establish permanent recycling & garbage can locations
•12 Re-landscape area between main sidewalk & Murray fence to provide usable space
•13 Add dog faucet to N. drinking fountain
•14 Install tromp l’oeil on building west of Orchard


•1 Improve pathway circulation between N. & S. parts of park; with curved corners to
allow for truck turning. Relocate bollards and rocks to protect grass
•2 Provide focal point at 54th St. (Design considerations: planter presents maint. &
water issues; need police car & PD truck access; keep east-west sightlines)
•3 Resurface tennis courts. Trim trees with branches hanging over court (littering)
•4 Improve bike access via curb cuts at 54th St. turnaround
•5 Install doggy bag dispenser
•6 Add dog faucet to fountain by meadow


•1 Add spray pool (water play feature)
•2 Add electric outlets on light poles – 2 minimum
•3 Do not fence off play areas from the rest of the park
•4 Replace chain link fence with ornamental
•5 Add swings, ‘natural' play equipment

•6 Add dog basin to fountain


•1 Sandbox to remain
•2 Move hedge surround to west, next to/inside border of fence; replace hedge w/lilacs
•3 Return ball field to junior softball dimensions (60’ baseline); improve drainage;
remediate/replace surface material
•4 Repair sink holes in playground; resurface area
•5 Redesign drinking fountain for ease of maintenance; add spigot on side for children to
get water for sand/water play (to prevent sand in fountain); make steps 2-level
•6 Leave baby play area intact; install new baby/toddler equipment; 3-sided fence to
stay; replace chain link w/ornamental fence
•7 Remove floodlight at south end of ball field
•8 Replace hawthorn trees along N. HPNC fence w/other ornamental trees to screen view


•1 Create noise barrier on 55th St: sm. berm, w/shrubs; widen 55th St. sidewalk1-2 feet.
•2 Raise existing fountain sculpture by approx. 3 feet
•3 Install new planting(s) around S. fountain; develop maintenance plan
•4 Install bus shelter at westbound 55th St. stop; remove bus stop at Kimbark
•5 Install path from Kenwood/55th corner to fountain w/appropriate plantings & benches
•6 Install path from Kimbark/55th corner to fountain & thence to main N-S path thru park
•7 Rearrange path from N. to S. fountain


All light fixtures shall be non-light polluting, downward projecting fixtures with poles
consistent with existing fixtures throughout south section of park (New bulbs inst. 2015)
All furniture and infrastructure shall be constructed with recycled materials when possible
All infrastructure shall be as maintenance free & graffiti resistant as possible
Replacement /addition of ornamental, flowering trees throughout S. section of park
All design details shall be discussed with and approved by the NPAC prior to implementation
Develop permanent landscape maintenance plan(s) esp. for baby playground hedge & any
new plantings at 54th St.
Install Tree ID signage, esp. for memorial trees
Implement Bird House project
S. of 54th St., check that Buffalo boxes are in working order