Camp STAR Angelina is an all-inclusive summer day camp for children ages 5-14 with and without disabilities, that is run by the City of Springfield’s Department of Parks, Buildings, and Recreation (DPBRM) that previously had been held at various City-owned sites located throughout the City of Springfield.


It was important to DPRBRM that the camp consolidate its activities at one centralized location where it could offer outdoor, nature-orientated recreation, while also being inclusive and accessible for children of all abilities. DPBRM hired GZA to help explore master planning options that would explore redeveloping a long forgotten and run-down former camp within the 780-acre Forest Park into Camp STAR Angelina’s new barrier-free headquarters. The former camp was last operated in the 1970s and contained relics of a former swimming pool and dilapidated maintenance building. GZA landscape architects, together with civil engineers, licensed site professionals, and wetlands scientists were put to the task of performing and in-depth site analysis a multi-phase master plan of development.


GZA’s master plan of development was instrumental in the City being awarded funding for the first three phases of the project. For all three phases GZA was the lead landscape architecture and civil engineering firm. With Phase I, GZA designed a new access road, utility connection, low-impact- design stormwater management solutions, zero-entry pool surround design, demolitions of existing structures (pool and buildings). Phase II included a 200-seat fully accessible outdoor amphitheater. Currently Phase II is being developed per GZA’s designs which includes an accessible nature trail that leads from the main parking/amphitheater area through a steep forested ravine down to the shore of Porter Lake- an approximately 80-foot descent.


Since completing the first phases, Camp STAR Angelina has enjoyed a new summer home that offers a shady respite in warm summer months for children of all abilities.