Environmental and Open Space Improvements


Groundwork Lawrence works to make Lawrence a cleaner, greener place to live. Its environmental improvement projects focus on making the city’s underutilized outdoor spaces safe, accessible and attractive. Groundwork projects transform vacant and often contaminated open spaces into parks, playgrounds, gardens, wooded trails and pathways, promoting healthy pursuits like walking, running, cycling and gardening. Download a case study of our Urban Land Protection projects and programs.

Alleyway and Vacant Land Reclamation

Groundwork Lawrence turns Lawrence’s alleyways into safe, clean and productive spaces using low impact development (LID) methods. Once vacant and hazardous, the Orchard Street and Union/Mechanic Street alleyways are now home to peaceful living habitats and community gardens. Groundwork campaigns for LID on redevelopment projects citywide, including the Union Crossing project now in progress.

Urban Forestry

Groundwork Lawrence is increasing the beneficial tree canopy in Lawrence by engaging youth, homeowners and concerned citizens in the planting and maintenance of trees throughout the city. Its annual GreenStreets / Calles Verdes initiative provides free trees to new homeowners who agree, in turn, to care for them. With its new Urban Forestry Coalition, Groundwork is expanding its efforts by focusing on community involvement, tree inventorying, strategic planning and resource development, to ensure the long-term viability of Lawrence’s tree canopy.

Park Development and Design

In partnership with the City of Lawrence, Groundwork Lawrence oversees the design, development and restoration of public parks, trails and open spaces, creating green oases on formerly vacant and neglected land. Groundwork involves neighborhood residents throughout the project lifecycle, from design to stewardship, ensuring spaces that reflect the needs of the community and will be enjoyed and cared for beyond their completion.

Current projects include:

  • Bourgoin Park
  • Gagnon Park
  • Howard Playstead
  • O'Connell South Common
  • O'Neill Park
  • Storrow Park

Completed projects include:

Spicket River Greenway

is a network of green spaces and walking paths linking neighborhoods, schools and parks along Lawrence’s 2.5 mile stretch of the Spicket River. With recently awarded funding from the Commonwealth, GWL is managing the design and construction of the Greenway with a completion date of June 2012. In addition, GWL organizes restoration, cleanup, enforcement, education and advocacy activities to foster community support for the maintenance of the Greenway. New/redeveloped parks along the Greenway include:

Site Redevelopment

GWL is building on its long-standing and successful partnership with Lawrence CommunityWorks to help develop Union Crossing and it's Phase II expansion to the Duck Mill. GWL has been involved with the project since the Master Planning phase, where we assisted with site design and facilitation of community meetings. Since then, GWL has continued to play a key role in the design of the site, including the pedestrian walkway, playground, community gardens, storm water management systems, and Riverwalk Trail, as well as helping to evaluate options for tenant recycling and composting programs. GWL is also working closely with LCW to develop educational programming that ensures these elements can be successfully and affordably maintained over the life of the project. In particular, GWL will focus on integrating and building upon our current healthy communities offerings, including access to fresh, local food, developing healthy habits, and educational curriculum to support sustainable environmental practices. Contact us if you are interested in having GWL help you with redeveloping your site! See photos!