Allentown, PA / 2021

West Park

An all-seasons horticultural installation

West Park is the City of Allentown’s first public park, established after nearly becoming a reservoir due to its high elevation. The 5.8-acre park was dedicated in 1909, and was described by its founder, Harry C. Trexler, as “a breathing spot” amid burgeoning industrialization. The park hosts a handsome Beaux Arts style bandshell, central cast-iron fountain, and a memorial honoring Civil War veterans. The park is designed as an arboretum, with 78 species of trees and over 300 varieties of shrubs and perennials. Each tree is marked with its scientific and common name, which is an enjoyable feature for environmental education.

Omnes collaborated with the Allentown Parks Department to establish a multi-phase soil and planting restoration over three growing seasons. The first phase included reconfigured entryway gardens that frame historic walls, opening up these threshold gardens to more light and air. Four circle gardens at the entry were themed for the four seasons, with each in full bloom at the height of spring, summer, autumn, or winter; a base layer of plantings also fills each bed for evergreen color throughout the year. The second phase of work  addresses the central gardens surrounding the fountain, and the final phase frames the white Beaux Arts bandshell.