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Morris school plan wins award

Landscape architectural plans for the former Morris Area Elementary School property will be honored with an award from the Minnesota chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects. Image courtesy Treeline.

The Morris Affordable Green Neighborhood master plan was awarded the highest honor in the Planning and Analysis category of this year's Minnesota landscape architectural design awards.

The landscape plan for the former Morris Area Elementary School property was developed by Adam Regn Arvidson, of Treeline. The building plan was created by Stahl Architects.

The project was ranked as the No. 2 project in Minnesota by the Minnesota chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, and the award will be presented at the chapter's annual banquet on April 23 at the International Market Square in Minneapolis.

The Minnesota Chapter of the ASLA presented 11 total awards in five categories, including five in the Planning and Analysis category.

The awards were judged by an out-of-state jury, who awarded one Award of Excellence (the highest honor) and one honor award, across all categories.

"So not only is MASLA recognizing our project as the best in our category, but as the second-best project overall by a Minnesota landscape architecture firm in 2010, built or unbuilt," Arvidson said.

"This is, of course, a great honor, and would not have been possible without (the Morris area's) contributions and tough questions," Arvidson said.

According to Treeline, the redevelopment plan proposes a neighborhood that is environmentally and socially sustainable, and is affordable to construct and maintain. This is, by definition, the affordable green neighborhood. Earth moving (grading) is minimized, in order to save cost, maintain soil integrity, and reduce fossil fuel consumption during construction.

The overall layout is designed as a logical extension of the surrounding neighborhoods, so that the new development will be embraced as part of the city, rather than noticed as a strange interloper. Lots are 50 feet wide, both to match the surrounding neighborhoods and to minimize infrastructure cost through urban density.

Stormwater management is incorporated into the site planning, through permeable pavement in alleys and parking areas and stormwater bioswales in parkway medians. Open space and vegetation figure prominently in the plan, with two different park areas, extensive street tree plantings, and more than two acres of prairie restoration.