Pope Park is a historic park that was originally designed by Olmsted Brothers Landscape Architects. They designed the park for Colonel Albert Pope, who donated 91 acres to the City for the workers of his bicycle factory to enjoy. Shadley Associates worked with the City of Hartford, the Pope Hartford Designated Fund and the Friends of Pope Park to program, design and implement phased construction based on the Pope Park Master Plan. Led by Pam Shadley while with another firm, the Pope Park Master Plan won a Planning Merit Award from the Boston Society of Landscape Architects.
The first implementation phase added new brick piers, ornamental metal fencing, brick pavement and a wide entry promenade facing a vista across the park to the pond. ADA-compliant walkways into the park were carefully graded to address the 20 feet of vertical grade change while preserving the mature trees planted in accordance with the Olmsted plan. The second phase of construction removed Pope Park Drive and created a new, multi-use walkway, now part of the Little River Greenway. It included a new park entrance, a new universally accessible walkway and courtyard to the Recreation Center, new parking areas that avoid disturbance to major trees, and supporting park benches, lights and signage. Two additional phases created a new, fully accessible playground and a new spray park for children in Pope Park North.
In 2017 SA developed a Master Plan for Bankside Grove, an area that connects the main park space with Pope Park North. The plan proposes a multiuse trail through this sloped and forested site that takes advantage of connections, views and topography. Future improvements at Bankside Grove will include improved pathways, seating areas, a community garden, bioswales and rain gardens, and an extensive rejuvenation of a landscape that has been neglected in recent decades.