Hanson was part of a team that developed a new memorial park in an unprecedented time frame in the East Arlington, Florida, area. The 1.6-acre, triangle-shaped Freedom Park, which was completed in October 2020, is at the intersection of McCormick and Fort Caroline roads. The once-empty lot was revamped into a beautiful, tranquil site with distinct characteristics, including four connected circular areas framed by a concrete walking path and numerous plants. The park was designed, permitted and constructed in less than four months to allow the city of Jacksonville to meet grant requirements. The city received a state grant of approximately $525,000 to develop the park.
Hanson’s services included site civil engineering and permitting for a 15-space parking lot, an 8-foot-wide meandering walking path, extensive grading that features a mound and depressed area representing a wetland and a stormwater management system meeting the FDOT’s critical storm criteria that involves modeling almost 40 different events. Other consultants provided landscape architecture, geotechnical and survey services.
The park honors the local Gullah Geechee of Cosmo and military veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The Gullah Geechee are descendants of slaves who settled in the Coastal Lowlands, from North Carolina to North Florida, and share cultural African influences. Spanning four states, the Gullah Geechee Heritage Corridor has an estimated population of 5 million people. The largest concentration is in Jacksonville. This park serves as an entry into the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor, a federal National Heritage area, and is associated with the Fort Caroline National Memorial in Arlington. The park’s other intent is to provide a safe and inviting place for military veterans with PTSD.