Hammond DDD to Break Ground on Railroad Park, Hammond Farmers Market Temporarily Relocating



Two major construction projects are set to begin in Downtown Hammond in the coming weeks. The newly-named Railroad Park (2 W. Thomas Street) will break ground with an official ceremony on August 9th, while the renovation of the Hammond DDD office building will begin shortly after the DDD’s Hot August Night event.

The park, designed by Dufreche & Associates, will boast a barrier-free design that features: shade, seating, traffic-calming measures, protection from the nearby train tracks and vehicular traffic, opportunities for art, a performance stage, and more. The DDD office will also be renovated as a part of this project, which will add public restrooms that can be accessed from the park. Pistorius & Associates will lead the renovations of the office building.

The public space at 2 W. Thomas Street has been a desired project of the Downtown Development District since 1998, and has been labeled as Downtown Hammond’s “city center” throughout multiple Master Plan updates. Railroad Park will maximize the potential of the space while still highlighting its history. With input from the community and expertise from local design and architectural professionals, the reimagining and reinvigorating of this area is finally coming to fruition. 

“These renovations will increase the public accessibility and utilization of the park as intended by the Cate Family, and bring greater attention and honor to the Stewart Monument,” said Frank DiVittorio, Hammond DDD Board Member.

As the current site is home to historic live oak trees and the Stewart monument, preemptive measures have been taken to ensure the protection and preservation of both. A contract with Bayou Tree Service has been signed for oversight and protection of the live oak trees, while Alfortish Enterprises is under contract to properly care for the Stewart monument during construction.

“Downtown Hammond is known for being national trendsetters when it comes to mixed-use buildings and public spaces,” says Chelsea Tallo Little, DDD Executive Director. “We intend for this space to also be ahead of the national curve, as it will both serve the public’s logistical needs and cultivate a sense of community.”

The total cost of the Railroad Park project is $789,140. The DDD has been saving for this project for several years, and will also be using funds from a $300,000 bond that was secured in 2018. The City of Hammond has contributed $160,000 towards sidewalk and parking improvements on the site, plus $100,000 to renovate the city-owned building that the DDD currently occupies.

To maximize community impact and offset construction costs, the Hammond DDD is also announcing a brick-selling campaign for Railroad Park. Community members now have the opportunity to purchase personalized bricks, which will later be installed in the park. Bricks cost $100 each. There are also opportunities to sponsor benches for $3,000, artwork, and other installments. (Those interested in sponsoring opportunities should contact Chelsea Tallo Little at 985-277-5681.) To buy a brick, please visit dddhammond.com/buyabrick.

Since 2 W. Thomas Street is currently the home of the Hammond Farmers Market, the market will be temporarily relocating to 103 E. Robert Street, just three blocks away. This new location is the home of the Old Hammond Feed & Seed, which the DDD signed a long-term lease for earlier this year. The Hammond Farmers Market will operate from this temporary location beginning on August 14th and stay there until construction at Railroad Park is complete. For more information on the Hammond Farmers Market relocation, please visit dddhammond.com/farmers-market.

“Railroad Park will be one of the focal points of Downtown Hammond,” said Evan Singer, Hammond DDD Board Member. “This project will allow for it to be a gathering place that we are all proud of as Hammond residents.”

For more information on Railroad Park, please visit: dddhammond.com/2020/10/24/1702/downtown-hammond-urban-park-project/