Our Progress So Far
1. Survey shows people want a park. In the summer, we surveyed neighborhood folks and they told us they want a park in the neighborhood.
2. A good, practical location is selected. The parcels on Barber Street are selected as a potential site for a park for a variety of reasons, including the fact that they’re unused and owned by the county.
3. Neighborhood association gets involved. In December, the Boulevard Neighborhood Association “adopts” parcel and sponsors volunteer efforts to explore the site’s suitability as a park.
4. Volunteer work begins. In January, thirteen volunteers began limited clearing work, and a web site for the project is launched. Three more volunteer work days are organized in the months following.
6. Earth Day celebration. A small group of volunteers and neighborhood residents gather at the site for a brief nature tour of the are and to read poetry in celebration of Earth Day, April 22.
7. Tree inventory. Two UGA urban tree managment students present a copy of their course project–an illustrated 21-page report that identifies trees on the site and makes recommendations for their care.
8. Athens Land Trust gets involved. In July, Athens Land Trust agrees to help in an administrative capacity with future fundraising efforts.
9. Neighborhood charrette. About 35 neighborhood residents participate in a neighborhood charrette–a public meeting about design preferences and issues–at the ATHICA gallery space on July 26. At the charrette, residents provide feedback on park design concepts to the project’s design team.
10. Plan developed. In August and September, the design team meets to review feedback from charrette and begins work to develop a composite site plan, integrating features from four alternative designs.
11. Initial meeting with ACC. In October, after the design team has finalized a composite plan, organizers meet first with Athens Clarke Co. Super District 9 Commissioner Kelly Girtz–whose district includes the potential park site–to discuss how to gain approval from the commission to create a park. Girtz offers his support and sets-up an initial meeting among park project organiers with officials from ACC’s Leisure Services and Central Services departments to informally discuss park creation issues and concerns.
12. Volunteer work continues. In February, the biggest volunteer crew yet shows up to haul out trash and other debris, trim vines, and pull weeds. Other volunteer work days follow.
13. Working with ACC. In August, park organizers meet with Pam Reidy, director of ACC’s Leisure Services; Dan Magee, Park Services Division Administrator and Mel Cochran, Greenways manager to discuss how to move the park project forward, and set a target date (February 2012) for presenting a proposal to the Mayor and Commission.
14. A Rivers Alive project. Boulevard Woods is selected as a Rivers Alive project. On October 15, a crew of 12 Rivers Alive volunteers join with neighborhood volunteers to haul out a massive brush pile to help create a looped trail. Rivers Alive is an annual volunteer day organized by Hands On Northeast Georgia.
15. Sunday Afternoon Ramble. About thirty people show to enjoy a walk on the nature trail that loops through the Boulevard Woods site. Hot chocolate and cookies are served, too.
16. BNA gets more involved. In October, the Boulevard Neighborhood Association creates a neighborhood park committee to help guide the project. It also votes to draft an agreement with Athens Land Trust to handle fundraising for the project and to give the new committee the go-ahead to draft any needed agreements with ACC on the park.
17. BNA/ALT sign fundraising agreement. On December 19, Boulevard Neighborhood Association signs a Memorandum of Understanding with Athens Land Trust, a local 501 (c) 3 organization. The MOU outlines how ALT will help BNA administer fundraising for the Boulevard Woods project. The arrangement gives BNA the ability to offer donors to the project the ability to claim tax deductibility for contributions. Fundraising won’t start until the project receives an official go ahead from Athens-Clarke Co.
18. Secure support from ACC. With a neighborhood-generated plan in hand and initial contacts made with local officials, our next step is to gain permission from ACC to proceed with creating a park at this site. Exactly how this permission will be structured has yet to be determined, and that’s part of what we’re working on now.
19. Raise funds. Once permission is granted to create a park and ACC has approved our park plan, we’ll begin–with administrative help from Athens Land Trust–to raise funds and accept donated labor and materials to build the park.
20. Build the park. The installation of features and amenities may happen in phases–as funding and donations are available.
21. Celebrate grand opening!