The Railyard Park Conservancy
The Railyard Park Conservancy raises 50% of the Park’s annual budget and is responsible for the work it takes to keep the Railyard Park’s gardens and landscapes vibrant, welcoming and beautiful!
Founded as the Railyard Stewards in September 2010 as an independent 501 (c ) 3 nonprofit, the organization changed its name to the Railyard Park Conservancy in April 2016. Reimagining how we serve our community into the future, the name change reflects how the Railyard Park has grown in depth and responsibilities, bringing our operation in line with best practices of successful urban park models which enhances the overall experience for our community and visitors alike. Read more…
Through a successful public/private partnership with City of Santa Fe Parks Division and the Santa Fe Conservation Trust, the Railyard Park Conservancy provides all of the horticultural care for the cultivated gardens and landscapes in the 13-acre Railyard Park and offers a wide variety of community educational programming in addition to jurying temporary public art in the Railyard Park.
The Railyard Park Conservancy accomplishes its mission through the generosity of a large cadre of dedicated volunteers and youth-in-service groups that contribute their time and effort to keep the Park healthy, vibrant, and beautiful, in addition to our generous donors and funders. We work hand-in-hand with the City of Santa Fe and elected officials to move the Railyard Park forward into the future to ensure we are able to upgrade amenities, improve access, and provide a safe community gathering place.
Strategic Focus Areas
Care for the Land: To advocate and provide resources for the maintenance and enhancement of the Railyard Park + Plaza’s landscapes according to the highest standards of excellence.
Focus on the Visitor: To develop event and educational programming that provides opportunities for diverse visitor experiences that encourage repeat, year-round visitation.
Foster Community Ownership and Partnership: To build a network of volunteers who advocate for and work to sustain the Railyard Park and Plaza in perpetuity
Fund the Future: To raise sufficient funds to support the ongoing care and enhancement of the Railyard Park + Plaza.
The Trust for Public Land (TPL) New Mexico negotiated and acquired the 50-acre Railyard property and conveyed it to the City of Santa Fe in 1995. As part of the conveyance to the City, the TPL worked with community members to create a conservation easement encumbering the 13-acres of the Railyard Park. Its purpose is to “assure that the Easement Area will be retained forever as a park, open space, and community gathering place, Rail Line corridor, trail corridor, and plaza area and to prevent any use of the Easement Area that will significantly impair or interfere with the conservation values of the Easement area.”
In 2001, TPL entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the City to oversee the design, construction and fundraising for the Railyard Park + Plaza. TPL completed this task in the fall of 2008. TPL held the Conservation Easement with the City of Santa Fe until March 25, 2015, at which time the easement was assigned to the Santa Fe Conservation Trust (SFCT). SFCT is now responsible for assuring that the City Follows the restrictions encumbering the Easement Area.
Since 1999, TPL organized and managed a team of volunteers called the Railyard Advisory Council, who donated thousands of hours towards design decisions, fundraising, and advocacy for the Railyard Park + Plaza. In late 2008, this group transitioned to the Railyard Stewards for which TPL served as the umbrella organization until 2010.
The Railyard Stewards were awarded IRS nonprofit status on September 21, 2010 and have operated as a registered 501 (c) 3 organization since then.
In April 2016, the board of directors approved the name change from Railyard Stewards to the Railyard Park Conservancy. The name change reflects how the organization’s responsibilities to the Railyard Park have grown in depth in addition to further managing and bringing our unique public and private partnership with the City of Santa Fe into line with best-practices of successful urban park models to enhance the overall visitor experience.
The Railyard Park Conservancy’s mission remains to provide community stewardship and advocacy for the care, programming, and public art in the Railyard Park + Plaza. This includes enhanced horticultural care and maintenance of the landscapes, gardens and plants in the Railyard Park; coordinate and manage all educational and community-oriented programming in the Park, and recruit, train and manage all volunteer efforts in the Park.
The Railyard Park Conservancy has received numerous awards and gained national recognition for its efforts to improve, restore, and maintain Santa Fe’s Railyard Park. With the ongoing support of our generous donors, the Conservancy will continue to offer our community award winning programs and projects that improve the quality of life for all Santa Feans and act as an exemplary model for parks and public green spaces.
Rudy Bruner Silver Award for Urban Excellence (2011)
This prestigious biennial award honors urban places that, through their design and development, have lasting transformative impacts on their urban neighborhoods and communities. The Santa Fe Railyard Redevelopment project unified the Santa Fe community around a vision for mixed use cultural and commercial district, which occupies 52 acres beginning at Montezuma St. and extending to Baca St.
Winners reflect two important themes: The desire for communities to shape the future of their important public spaces and the need for local governments, institutions and citizens to join together to take on the pressing social issues confronting our collective future.
Urban Land Institute – Urban Open Space Finalist (2014)
One of five finalists for the distinguished ULI Open Space Award, the 13-acre Railyard Park + Plaza is the culmination of two decades of community activism that enabled citizens to retain control over the largest downtown development to conserve the open space in perpetuity as a community asset emphasizing local cultures, businesses and artists.
Great Places in America Award – Public Spaces - American Planning Association (2015)
A public space may be a gathering spot or part of a neighborhood, downtown, special district, waterfront or other area within the public realm that helps promote social interaction and a sense of community. Each year, APA recognizes outstanding people, planning work, and places — representing the best in planning and community impact. During the National Community Planning Month each October, they celebrate how planning improves lives and creates communities of lasting value.