Boulevard Woods is a community partnership to create a distinctive neighborhood park on a vacant county-owned lot.
More than half the funds needed for construction have been raised. It will cost about $100,000 to build the park. Thanks to a $75,000 grant from Riverview Foundation, and ongoing local efforts, we’ve raised more than 85% of what we need. To get the job done, we need about $14,000.
Located in a great spot. The 1.8 acre lot sits at a prominent junction at the top of Boulevard where that street meets Barber St.—a street studded with connections to the local music scene. The site is inside the boundaries of the Historic Boulevard Neighborhood, and within walking distance for many area residents.
Lot is owned by Athens-Clarke County, and is designated for use as a park. The lot was donated to the City of Athens by W.H. Benson in 1967. In July 2012, ACC’s Mayor & Commission voted to allow this lot to be used as a park.
Neighborhood residents want a park. Apart from a school playground that’s off-limits during school hours and doesn’t allow dogs, there are no parks in the neighborhood. When area residents were surveyed in 2009, 93% of 193 respondents supported creating a park. ACC’s recent study of the Prince Avenue corridor mentions this site as a location for sorely needed public green space.
There’s a neighborhood/county partnership moving the project forward. The Boulevard Neighborhood Association, Inc. is leading the volunteer effort to create the park, and is working closely with ACC’s Leisure Services Department to design a park that meets public standards.
The park will be a public park. While the idea to create the park came from neighborhood volunteers, Boulevard Woods will be an ACC Leisure Services park when complete—a park open to everyone.
Plan is for a simple, graceful and easy-to-maintain park. Boulevard Woods will be a place for people to come to relax and play with their kids and friends in a garden-like and tree-filled setting. Beautiful stone walls will provide both architectural structure and seating for the park. Taking advantage of the topography of the site, an overlook will offer a view into dense tree canopy. A hiking trail will allow visitors (and their dogs) to stroll through a wooded area.
Incorporating community creativity. During a second phase of development, we plan to incorporate more expressions of community creativity into the park, including a mosaic, a metalwork archway sign, ornamental gardens and a community of birdhouses.
The park will be built and maintained at little cost to county taxpayers. In addition to designing the park at its own expense, BNA will be raising the funds required to construct the park. And, under an agreement with ACC, BNA will—with volunteer labor—help with ongoing maintenance.
Contributions are handled by Athens Land Trust, Inc. and are tax deductible. Under an agreement between BNA and Athens Land Trust, Inc. contributions to the park project are directed to an ALT fund that’s earmarked for Boulevard Woods. Contributions are tax deductible as allowed by law. ALT is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization.
This project is serving as a pilot project for other neighborhood parks. The effort to create this park is generating valuable lessons that may help ease the way for other neighborhood parks. ACC is now developing criteria to evaluate future proposals, and there’s now support for establishing a fund to help cover maintenance costs for neighborhood parks.
Timeline. Our goal is to present our ACC-approved plan to the Mayor & Commission for final approval in Fall 2014. If we’ve raised sufficient funds by then and the Mayor & Commission vote to accept our plans and funds, we expect construction of Boulevard Woods to begin in Spring 2015.