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Echoes of the Iron Horse

Urban Design Project
Highgate, ON, Canada
dedicated to the Train

Sculpture and Piazza Design
Landscape Design
Dam de Nogales

2007
Community Urban Landscape Project
provided by South-East Kent  Health and Community Services Inc.


Up until now the entrance into Highgate has been the least from welcoming.  The main corner, the first thing that catches the eye of visitor or resident is a desolate unkempt
grey gravel parking lot.

Thanks to some recent road and sidewalk improvement to the centre, and also to self-initiated beautification endeavours by caring local commercial entities, the corner is
seeing the first signs of promise.

It is the hope of the residents and business owners that this endeavour be expanded and enhanced to create a space embraced by all.

Highgate is the Eastern Gate-Way to Chatham Kent.  It is the most easily accessible community for every commuter along HWY 401, being situated only two kilometres from the
highway.  In so much, we believe that investment in its core is integral.

In the “vision for Chatham-Kent”, Highgate has been touted as a potential artists’ and artisans’ niche.  While this is easily possible, without key investment into its visual appeal,
Highgate would lack the potential of serious outside economic investment on all fronts, not only from artists but also from well-needed professionals able to better the health of
the community.

We have seen doctors come and go.  The school has been closed.  Only one house has been constructed in the last thirteen years near the central residential areas.  Despite
this, Highgate has Manage to attract new residents from Toronto, Oakville, Kitchener, Barcelona, and London to make Highgate their new home.

This Beautification process follows the vision for Chatham-Kent on multiple levels, on the level of Health, Economy, Environment, Culture, and Civic Engagement.

1. Health and Leisure.   The Unique Landscape design to this corner will provide a relaxation environment for residents and visitors a-like through its incorporation of benches
and greenery.  Being cared for by the residents and commercial entities that surround it, the community will have an invested interest in protecting the site, fostering a Family
oriented safe Environment.  One of the only existing buildings that could meet the health standards for a doctors’ office or medical walk-in clinic is directly across the road from
this site. Another Doctor to South-East Kent benefits Chatham Kent as a whole.

2,  Economy.   By enhancing the visual appeal of Highgate in its very core, high-lighted by a work of art and history to be executed by artists of international esteem, more
outsiders will be willing to invest in the future of the village. There will be an influx of Tourist dollars and currently unoccupied commercial buildings will more easily find
occupants.  

3.Environment.  Creating a cared for green space in the very core of a community, makes the focus of the community “Green.”

4. Culture—The sculpture to be created by international sculpture duo “Dam de Nogales”, entitled "Echoes of the Iron Horse", is based on the history of Orford County, and on
how the passing through of the railway was a key element to the growth and expansion of Highgate.  When the train eventually made Ridgetown its Key stop instead of Highgate,
investment and construction in Highgate as a village began to slow.   The commemorating of this historical fact through art, specifically sculpture, not only celebrates our
heritage but also in a sense rectifies it, for the Historical significance, the beauty and the power of this sculpture will also give new reason for people to visit highgate.  The
sculpture will be created using the twisting of an actual Rail, combined with a bronze horse element as a symbol for the organic growth of Highgate,

5. Civic Engagement and Learning -- Multiple community residents have volunteered to the maintaining of the evergreen and perennial gardens on the new corner, Being on
the visual corner, volunteerism is promoted by hightened visibility of volunteers at work.  Exposure to the artwork acts as a learning tool, not only on the levels of appreciation but
also on the level of of historical connectivity.

Overall

The residents believe that through the creation of a new green space of relaxation and cultural appreciation, at the very heart of Highgate, the eastern gateway to Chatham-
Kent, residents and visitors will find a renewed sense of what it means to live and work in Chatham-kent.   It will act as a well-needed breath of life into this community in
particular and will spur commercial investment not only into highgate but into Chatham-Kent as a whole.  By using the efforts of many of the residents, the project  has resulted
in a healthy protected core,   With the help of Chatham-Kent and the Community Partnership fund, and the heading of the the project by The South-East Kent Health and
Community Services, this vision has become a reality.

Project Details:
Location:
SW Corner of King and Main, Highgate, ON, N0P 1T0 – Municipal Land
Physical Size of Landscaping Project – Actual Square footage  approximately an an area of about 70 feet x 44 feet.

Labour and Materials
1. Hardscape – creation of a two Tiered levelled area, Natural stone benches and Defined parking borders through the use of Mixed Re-constituted stone and natural stone. Two
uniquely designed benches of natural stone and steel.   Plaque detailing the Historical interpretation of the artists, and naming all donating entities and featuring Chatham-Kent
Community Partnership Fund, and CN Rail..
2. Softscape – Mixed evergreen and perennial, mulch, raised planting beds and topsoil
3. Artwork – “Echoes of the Iron Horse” – sculpture by Veronica and Edwin Dam de Nogales. approx. 3.2 metres tall of bronze and steel over a base.— Dam de Nogales also in
charge of Design of the Piazza, design and creation of the benches, and  and overseeing the landscaping elements of the project.
Before Photo of Highgate Centre Square