Editor’s note: This guest blog was written by Cummings Research Park Executive Director Erin Koshut. The Park is celebrating 60 years in Huntsville.
Just 60 short years ago, Huntsville community and business leaders took a bold step in creating a research park for the City that would support companies and collaboration in the aerospace and defense industries.
Those 60 years have flown by. Now, yet again, the City is championing and investing in Research Park to ensure its long-term viability and success for all global high-tech industries.
In 2016, when the Cummings Research Park (CRP) 50-year master plan was adopted, the plan laid out both a foundational and aspirational journey to unify and build upon the Park’s success. Over the last five years, the City, Huntsville Utilities and CRP companies have put into place several foundational efforts to ensure continued investment in the Park. These include a new sub-station in CRP West, paving of roads and adding bike lanes in parts of CRP East, and intersection improvements in CRP East.
We’re also benefitting from the expansion of Research Park Boulevard (RPB), the new Old Madison Pike bridge, and the new RPB off-ramp for MidCity and the Orion Amphitheater into CRP East. These foundational investments must be completed to move our community forward and position CRP to continue to attract the best and brightest companies.
Now we turn to our 60th anniversary year, and the City is continuing to invest in the Park in pivotal infrastructure projects.
For over a decade, the sidewalks around Lake 4 in CRP West did not connect due to three missing sections. In the original plans for CRP West, these sections were to be completed as companies built around the lake. People who work in CRP, and now live in CRP, enjoy the sidewalks around Lake 4. This critical Park amenity needed to be completed, and the City is now finishing the missing sidewalk sections. We expect to see the sidewalk projects complete by the end of May. CRP organizers look forward to 60th anniversary events and walk-and-talks utilizing the full Lake 4 walking loop.
Late last fall, the City announced a new connector road between Bridge Street and the Odyssey Drive cul-de-sac. This 800-foot road with sidewalks will provide another connection in and out of Bridge Street, and will further connect Bridge Street’s amenities to CRP companies and their employees with safe pedestrian and bicycle access. The new road is slated for completion by the end of this year.
We are also excited to announce that new entry signs will be coming to CRP! As part of the 2016 master plan, CRP went through a much-needed rebrand. Elements of the new brand are seen throughout the CRP website on CRP’s social platforms and marketing efforts. Earlier this year, the City approved a contract with rsmDesign to create large CRP entry and directional signage. The sign design process is already underway and new designs will be unveiled in late fall. We share in the excitement of seeing the existing brown and red pillars come down and new vibrant and monumental signage erected throughout the Park!
CRP is the City’s only research park and it is imperative that it be successful both now and well into the future. Much like the City invested 60 years ago to make Research Park a thriving collaborative community, the City will continue to invest to ensure that Cummings Research Park excels as the premier location for research and development, technology commercialization companies and activities in our community because it’s the right thing to do. After all, CRP has been propelling science since 1962 and innovation is our DNA.
There are a number of ways you can get involved in the Park. We host many activities throughout the year, and there are special events this year to celebrate CRP’s 60th. Visit cummingsresearchpark.com, including our Events page, to learn more.