Mark your calendars for the 2015 JDRF Imagine Gala on April 25 from 6-11 pm. The JDRF Gala will be held to raise funds for diabetes research and to further increase public education and awareness of diabetes. The evening includes silent and live auctions, dinner and dancing.
JDRF is dedicated to its mission of finding a cure for diabetes through the support of research and research-related education. It is committed to improving the lives of those with type 1 diabetes by curing, treating, and preventing the disease.
Cromwell is proud to be a long-time supporter of JDRF and other Central Arkansas charities such as Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Red Cross, and the Boys and Girls Club. Rob Seay, Director of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, and his wife, Luanne, will be co-chairing this event.
Rob is a 1990 graduate of Christian Brothers University in Memphis, TN with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. He holds professional engineering licenses in Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Florida, South Carolina, Iowa and Montana. He is also a LEED Accredited Professional and a Certified Energy Manager.
Rob started with Cromwell the Monday after he graduated from college. He is now a principal in the firm, serving as the Director of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering since 2005.
Last year, Arkansas lost a historic architectural treasure to fire. The Majestic Hotel in Hot Springs caught fire February 27, 2014 and burned to the ground, dashing local support for restoration.
The original Majestic Hotel was constructed in 1902 and was a favorite destination for several Major League teams including the renowned Boston Red Sox. The Sox trained at Majestic Field on the south end of town. As part of their training they hiked the four miles to and from the ball field, over West Mountain.
Constructed on the site of the Whittington House in 1926, the second Majestic Hotel was an eight story brick structure connected to the first Majestic Hotel on the right and the Lanai Suites (1958) on the left. Designed by Sanders and Ginocchio (Cromwell firm predecessor), the building had a one story entrance and lobby projection, the parapet of which was adorned with urns, that faced the street. Windows were six-over-one double-hung with the exception of the one story section that had multi-paned casement windows with fixed side lights and transom. Four pairs of windows on the seventh floor had wrought iron balconies. One of the most distinguishing features of this hotel was the rich classically-inspired cast ornament that embellished the two top and bottom floors. In 1934, the firm of Thompson, Sanders and Ginnochio (Cromwell firm predecessor), was responsible for some alterations, the nature of which is not known.
In February of 2013, Abandoned Arkansas documented the Majestic in it’s abandoned state, and again after it’s destruction. Their photographs captured the derelict beauty of the property, including some still stunning original architectural features.
Active downtowns emerged as a result of the need for economic and social interaction. As time passed, these downtowns were scorned for big box commercial centers on the edge of town. At Cromwell, we are noticing a renewed interest in these downtowns. There are many strategies to help revive these areas including placing emphasis on sustainable practices. Incorporating sustainability into urban areas does not have to cost a fortune and should specifically fit the unique needs of each town.
The first step in the renewal process is to assess the existing buildings, infrastructure, open space, and strengths of the community, all while considering the needs and desires of any current downtown tenants. Existing buildings represent opportunities to maintain the historical context and character of your town. It’s important to note that not all buildings are meant to be restored; this needs to be an informed decision because the historical value of these buildings will be lost forever. Nothing is more critical to this process than selecting a quality team to help determine the feasibility of restoration. It is a good idea to select a multidiscipline firm, such as Cromwell, to help you make these hard decisions.
Historical buildings are beautiful, but they also use more energy than a modern building. While that is often considered a negative in redevelopment, there are many opportunities to reclaim some of that lost energy. Some of these improvements are low cost, while others may require significant financial investment. You should work with a team of experienced professionals to perform an analysis to understand the costs, benefits, and savings anticipated with each decision.
Lighting represents an opportunity for dramatically increasing energy efficiency while lowering overhead and maintenance requirements. LED (light emitting diode) lighting prices are plummeting as the technology becomes more developed. While costs can still prohibit many municipalities from making the switch, prices will continue to drop and municipalities should begin to budget for lighting changes in the next few years or sooner. The long term financial savings and reduction in maintenance will result in a quick return on investment.
If vacant lots are located within the revitalization area, they should be utilized to spur community involvement. These lots represent great opportunities for environmentally responsible decisions such as community gardens, pocket parks, or a farmers’ market. Gardens provide a place where citizens can grow vegetables or flowers. Pocket parks vary greatly in size, even as small as a single parking space, and can be used to expose citizens to the long term redevelopment possibilities. These open spaces can also be utilized to help promote downtown business such as providing outdoor seating for a café, restaurant, or book store.
A more costly decision is to incorporate LID (low impact design) strategies when performing street, storm sewer, and sidewalk work. For approximately the same cost as traditional construction, LID strategies can reduce the need for storm water infrastructure while improving the street experience. LID is slowly being adopted by communities across the state including Fayetteville and Little Rock. The Portland Green Streets Program has a great deal of information available on their experiences implementing LID strategies.
The downtown related decisions a community makes should promote economic development, community spirit, and a high quality of life for your citizens. The reemergence of downtowns is a trend that will likely continue to grow, and Cromwell has the team and the history to help make these educated decisions. Is it time for your community to reexamine your downtown?
The Cromwell team is hosting an art show featuring the talents of our employees. The works will be on display at The 505 Union in Jonesboro, AR from June 7th through June 30th.
The 505 Union is a collective of artists who have come together to provide world class art experiences to Downtown Jonesboro, AR. The Union is supported in part by in-kind donations from the Mixon Law Firm and Cromwell Architects.
Address is 505 Union Street, Jonesboro, AR 72401