On October 24, 2015, ExxonMobil partnered with Baton Rouge Green to celebrate National Neighborwoods Month by installing a new pocket park designed to improve a blighted lot on Sorrel Avenue in North Baton Rouge. This SUCCESSional Pocket Park is designed to fit on abandoned, blighted properties and are basically “place holders’ that keep vacant lots visibly neat and easy to care for whether they are developed or not.
Over 30 volunteers from the community, the neighborhood, students from the Southern University Sustainability Coalition, LSU Landscape Architecture & Episcopal High students came together to install native trees and shrubs such as Chalk Maple, Swamp Red Maple, Ironwood, Oakleaf Hydrangea, Hairwan Muhly Grass, Dwarf Palmetto and Little Bluestem just to name a few.
The contrived layout and plant design strongly imply: “DON’T DUMP TIRES, DEBRIS, REFUSE, ETC. HERE!” The design relies on the form and habits of native successional plants & trees to create a PUBLIC space that can be enjoyed by the community.
These parks use successional ecology to complement successional land uses. We use middle to late successional species that establish readily, are durable, and have a desirable lifespan to growth rate ratio. Pocket park plants should not get so big that they dominate the site or create a hazard in hurricane/storm conditions. If system develops and programming calls for another use of the land the park occupies……the lot can easily be cleared to make way for the next system/land use. If the system remains continues as is the park plants and hardscape can easily be “refreshed” in a few decades to ensure its vigor.