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TBGer Eric Garrison awarded with fort worth 40 under 40 honor

posted
05.02.18
author
Catherine Saunders
category
press

Last week, Eric Garrison accepted his award for Fort Worth Business Press’ 40 Under 40 2018 class! So, to share this exciting news with you, we thought we’d share a little more about Eric.

Eric took the initiative to open our Fort Worth office because it was critical if our company wanted to truly help shape Fort Worth, we needed to be in Fort Worth – not just do projects from the Dallas office. We are currently the only Landscape Architecture firm represented in Fort Worth (that’s not part of a larger multidisciplinary firm). Since we opened our Fort Worth office, we’ve worked on over 80 projects.

In addition to being the Managing Principal of our Fort Worth office, Eric has been a member of Near Southside’s Design Review Board and Board of Directors since 2016, responsible for providing design insight for those undertaking development projects in the Near Southside district and to provide a voice ensuring quality development and business practices in the district overall.

Working with Near Southside, Eric helped lead a project for our office called Magnolia MicroPark. TBG worked with a diverse group of community members to create a vibrant urban park for a period of about 18 months from a vacant property donated temporarily by its owner. Using primarily donated materials and volunteer labor, the team facilitated this inexpensive conversion from vacant property to a multipurpose outdoor space in a way that has brought new life to the area and surrounding businesses — and the installation was conceived as a kit of parts so that it may be moved to another nearby location when the property is later developed.

Despite its small size (around 3,000 sf) and minimal budget (about $20,000) the Magnolia MicroPark is a showcase of grassroots urban renewal that has helped change attitudes about the importance of inviting parks and other public realm destinations. The current MicroPark site is destined to become a hotel; but the excitement for this temporary park space in the neighborhood has caused the owner and developer to reevaluate and expand the amount of public realm they incorporate within their hotel development plans.

The MicroPark has also changed the perspective of property owners in nearby adjacencies – attracting tenants that will interact with the public (like a co-working space, for example), instead of an inwardly oriented business (like a medical office). The area dynamic has changed and increased the value of properties around the park, even though it’s temporary due to the activation of the space as a public outdoor amenity.

Additionally, realization of a long-term influence of the MicroPark in local park development policy is beginning to take shape. The City of Fort Worth recently revised their parks master plan and due to the success of this MicroPark added an Urban Parks category. Prior to the addition of this category, the smallest-sized park was between 1 and 5 acres, which is next to impossible to find in the City’s densest areas. This policy change reflects the need for the development of smaller, urban parks (which could range from parks to plaza space) to allow the community to gather and connect in a space that better reflects the context of place.

Though temporary, the original MicroPark will live on. MicroPark 2.0 is being planned currently in another area of the neighborhood where the purpose of the MicroPark Initiative, which is to provide a spark of open space in a neighborhood that is currently lacking a park or other public open space amenity, will be realized. The future holds many new locations and creative concepts for the MicroPark. The initiative will be a continued presence in the neighborhood, creating community engagement and public green space wherever in need.

Eric has also been involved with Texas Tech University’s Professional Advisory Board (2015), Habitat for Humanity, Fort Worth Botanical Garden, Fort Worth Nature Center, and Child Fund International.