Maple Park has been an affordable housing project since 1940 providing 30 duplex units for low income families. Seventy years later, the wartime housing has reached the end of its usefulness.
Redevelopment of the project sought to replace these units and add an additional 26 for a total of 56 units. The last affordable housing project in the City of Live Oak was in the 1980’s and this project is instrumental in improving access to affordable housing for families. The project consists of 2, 3, and 4 bedroom units with a central community building housing an early childhood daycare facility. Each unit has outdoor storage, private patios or balconies, and a washer/dryer. The building’s front narrow pedestrian friendly streets create park like courts of various sizes encouraging community. Parking is hidden and tucked under the buildings.
Maple Park is tucked away in a typical residential suburban neighborhood of primarily one and two story buildings. Here we were challenged to be sensitive to neighbors and for this reason the buildings slope down from 3 story at the center of the project to 2 story at the perimeter. We also wanted this to be as pedestrian friendly as possible and downplay the car. This is key for families and the future 35 unit senior project on the site. Parking is tucked under the buildings and tucked behind buildings at the corner, thus leaving the central open space for people to experience on foot. The main drive aisle was narrowed to further slow down cars and make it safe for kids. Smaller pedestrian courts and open spaces are created between the buildings, which helps to foster community, providing for the development of mini neighborhoods. Our client had aggressive goals for sustainability which drove the project design to Net Zero Energy with the inclusion of solar PV and Hot Water Heating on the roofs.
Outdoor open spaces are located near existing trees and have become small courts that subdivide the site into smaller communities. Gum Street, which previously was a dead-end, has been extended through the site to create a stronger connection with the surrounding neighborhood. The private, narrow driveway- like loop slows cars and creates a safe pedestrian oriented space. All unit entries are visible from the street and create focal points for informal interaction and gathering. The site plan was designed to create a centrally located community space with a new community building as the focal point. A portion of the community building houses day care for up to 20 pre-school aged children who participate in the local Head Start Program. Adult and youth oriented education classes for residents are held in the adjacent, larger rooms. A bona fide service coordinator over sees and coordinates Resident Services activities including neighborhood watch program, nutrition classes, parenting classes, and soon to be afterschool programs.