ELLIS COUNTY—MESA, an award-winning Landscape Architecture, Planning, and Urban Design firm based in Dallas, Texas, recently received the ASLA Merit Award in the Design Unrealized category for their Dallas St, Ennis Texas design project.
The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) is the professional association for landscape architects in the United States, representing more than 15,000 members. The Society’s mission is to advance landscape architecture through advocacy, communication, education, and fellowship. Sustainability has been part of ASLA’s mission since its founding and is an overarching value that informs all of the Society’s programs and operations.
MESA partnered with the City of Ennis beginning in 2015 on the Downtown Master Plan. In anticipation of its future growth, the City of Ennis, along with MESA developed this plan to serve as a road map for future development and economic revitalization.
Dallas Street Improvements
The initial catalyst project selected for improvements was Dallas Street, the main north/south shopping corridor in downtown. Dominated by vehicles, Dallas Street currently offers very little to the pedestrian experience and subsequently limits the streets modern day appeal and economic vitality. MESA’s design creates a fully accessible curbless street, erasing barriers, and providing flexibility and freedom of pedestrian movement.
Design details include a ground plane with an authentic mix of historic clay brick paving, weathered concrete, and cast-iron details honoring the downtowns late 19th century heritage. Salvaged from the underlying street, reclaimed brick bands are the unifying fabric woven throughout the streetscape. An allee of Princeton American Elm trees line the street, providing a cathedral like corridor of cool dappled shade in the hot summer months, and allowing warm sunlight through in the cool winter months. In addition, the plant palette includes over 45 species of native or adaptive Texas plantings.
Construction on the Dallas St project began in April of 2018 and will be complete in Fall of 2019. The vision will soon become a reality creating a modern, active, and dynamic downtown that enhances the pedestrian experience and celebrates the rich history and cultural heritage of downtown Ennis.
It is important to note that MESA’s work in landscape architecture, planning and urban design has been recognized locally, nationally and internationally for its quality of work and innovative design excellence. Moreover, the group has garnered numerous awards throughout their 38 years in business that showcase excellence in design, planning, historic preservation, and environmentally sustainable sites. The City of Ennis is grateful to have such an outstanding partner in designing and implementing the Downtown Master Plan.
Beginning with Minnie McDowal Park, a beautifully designed public gathering place in the heart of downtown Ennis was the first phase of the plan. Finally, the next catalyst project is the Downtown Underpass, an aesthetically-pleasing trestle bridge on Ennis Ave that will allow the train and cross traffic to pass overhead, relieving road congestion, connecting the downtown and I45 market and creating a landmark.