Since February 2020, Gasperich Park has officially been under construction. However, as soon as it opened, works were delayed due to the vagaries of tenders and other administrative hassles, and then construction had to close due to the pandemic. Nevertheless, the project is now well and truly underway, and the first planting has begun. It will eventually be the largest park in Luxembourg City and the green lung of the new Cloche d'Or district.
The project comes at a cost of around €16m for 16.6 hectares, a green space that is part of the urbanisation plan for the Gasperich district. "The district has changed a lot in just a few years", says Lydie Polfer (DP), mayor of the City of Luxembourg. "In 2015, we had 5,623 inhabitants in Gasperich and in 2020, 8,255. This park is therefore important for all those who live nearby, those who work here during the day, but also for the other inhabitants of the city."
The entire design of the park was the subject of a competition that was won by Mersch Landscape Engineers. This project, which was discussed and adapted to the requirements of the city--which is also responsible for its maintenance--is being implemented today.
Over 900 trees planted
A wide variety of native trees and shrubs will be planted, as well as approximately 100 fruit trees. In total, more than 900 trees will be planted in the municipal park. "The majority of the trees come from nurseries in Germany and the Netherlands. This is also where we bought the plane trees on Avenue de la Liberté, which have now taken root perfectly," explains Lydie Polfer. Although the selected trees are not very small specimens, it will still take about 10 years for the park to reach an 'adult' size.
There are also recreational and leisure lawns, dry lawns and large flower meadows that promote biodiversity. Shrubs and perennial beds will contribute to the attractiveness of the site.
As far as the blue network is concerned, the banks of the Drosbach stream will be redeveloped in a natural way over a stretch of 810m, with a view to reducing the risks of flooding. A 3-metre deep pond covering 7,000m2 is planned as well.
As far as recreational facilities are concerned, the park has several types of installations. "For some years now, the City of Luxembourg has been developing themed playgrounds that are very popular with families," says Lydie Polfer. "We will continue this approach in the Gasperich park, which will be equipped with a playground on the theme of climbing.” In addition to this large play area, which will also be largely shaded by around 30 trees, park users will be able to enjoy a multi-sport field, a beach volleyball court, an outdoor fitness area and two pétanque courts.
At the entrance to the site, a new pavilion will be built. Designed by Diane Heirend Architects, it will house a brasserie with a large terrace at the back, opening onto the park. At the edge of the park there will also be a dog area.
The park will be served by seven entrances, linked by a network of branching paths with a total length of 4.5km. A main loop of 1,850m will be available for pedestrians and cyclists, complemented by 2.2km of paths with permeable surfaces. A stilted path (630m) will be installed along the Drosbach, which is sure to become one of the park's focal points, with a landscape that changes according to the rainfall.
Opening in spring 2023
"The advantage of this park is that it is located on former agricultural land. We can therefore work directly on the site, without having to bring in or remove any soil," explains Martine Rasquin, who is responsible for the project at the City of Luxembourg. "We will just make some earth movements to create mounds, but otherwise the rest of the project follows the natural topography."
As a precautionary measure, archaeological excavations were carried out on the site, but without any conclusive results. Luckily this did not lead to further examination and the construction was not delayed additionally.
The carpentry work is due to take place this autumn, followed by the vehicular bridges this winter. Then the playground will be installed in autumn 2022, the electrical work is planned for October 2022 and the installation of the street furniture for January 2023. If everything goes smoothly, the park could be completed by spring 2023.
This story was first published in French on Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.