Boulevard Woods Vote is Today!

Hi Everyone:

The Mayor and Commission is voting on Boulevard Woods today. (Starting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 3 at City Hall.) 

With the July 4 holiday coming up lots of folks are out of town, but we still need to show strong support for our park at the City Hall. So, if you're in town and can do so, please come to the Mayor and Commission meeting. Plan to say a few words in support or just bring yourself and your good luck.  

If you haven't done so yet, please send the Mayor and your Commissioners an email urging them to support Boulevard Woods. 

For talking points about Boulevard Woods, scroll down to the previous post or go here.

Thanks!

Mayor and Commissioner Email Addresses

Mayor Nancy Denson nancy.denson@athensclarkecounty.com

District 1–Doug Lowry doug.lowry@athensclarkecounty.com

District 2–Harry Sims harry.sims@athensclarkecounty.com

District 3–George Maxwell george.maxwell@athensclarkecounty.com

District 4–Alice Kinman alice.kinman@athensclarkecounty.com

District 5–Jared Bailey jared.bailey@athensclarkecounty.com

District 6–Ed Robinson ed.robinson@athensclarkecounty.com

District 7–Kathy Hoard kathy.hoard@athensclarkecounty.com

District 8–Andy Herod andy.herod@athensclarkecounty.com

District 9–Kelly Girtz kelly.girtz@athensclarkecounty.com

District 10–Mike Hamby mike.hamby@athensclarkecounty.com

Talking Points

Support bw sign
The Mayor and Commission are scheduled to vote on a plan that would allow us to move forward with creating Boulevard Woods at its regular session meeting this coming Tuesday, July 3, beginning at 7 p.m. at City Hall.  

We'll definitely need folks to come out, speak up and show support at this meeting. 

Here, for your convenience, are talking points in favor of Boulevard Woods. Stay tuned for more alerts and reminders.

 Talking Points 

Our proposal in brief. "Boulevard Woods" is a proposal by the Boulevard Neighborhood Association, Inc. (BNA) to partner with ACC Leisure Services to establish and maintain public green space or park on long vacant, county-owned land off of Barber Street where Boulevard ends. 

Low-cost, passive public green space. We are proposing a low-cost, easy-to-maintain public green space that is a convenient place for neighbors to walk or bike to in order to relax, bring kids to play or take a stroll along a nature trail. 

Funding source is BNA. BNA intends to raise funds, and under the supervision of Leisure Services, coordinate the use of contracted work, volunteer labor and donated materials to build "Boulevard Woods" and to provide for its ongoing maintenance. 

No money = no park. If we fail to raise the needed funds and resources, the park will not be built. 

Design is based on neighborhood feedback. A concept design for the park was based on two surveys of residents and a public charrette. Using feedback from the surveys and the charrette, a volunteer design team–whose membership included UGA landscape architecture professors, a locally practicing architect and a professional landscape designer–developed the concept drawing. 

This project is driven by lots of neighborhood volunteers. There are eight volunteers on our design team. There are nine volunteers on BNA's Park Committee There have been eight organized volunteer work days on the site. More than 82 people have together volunteered at least 2,200 hours of time for this project.

Need for a neighborhood park. In its Prince Ave corridor study, ACC's Planning Department notes the lack of pocket parks or greenspace near the corridor. The study mentions our site as an example of a "greenspace connection" that would enhance the corridor. There are no parks within convenient walking distance in our neighborhood. The school playground at Chase St. School is only open during non-school hours and does not allow dogs. 

Making a stronger, safer neighborhood. Studies show that properly placed, properly designed neighborhood parks that are well-cared for and popular help build community ties that produce stronger, safer neighborhoods. Boulevard Woods will be a very well loved park. (See City Parks Forum Briefing Papers, How cities use parks to create safer neighborhoods, published by the American Planning Association and The Benefits of Parks: Why American Needs More City Parks and Open Space, by Paul M. Sherer, published by The Trust for Public Land, 2006.)

Backed by enduring organizations. "Boulevard Woods" is a project of the Boulevard Neighborhood Association, Inc., which has been actively advocating to protect and improve Boulevard since the 1980s. BNA has entered into an agreement with Athens Land Trust that establishes a fundraising partnership for "Boulevard Woods."

We've done a lot of outreach. We've surveyed neighborhood residents twice. In the first survey, out of 193 respondents, 91.2 percent said they would like to have a public park or public green space in the neighborhood. In the second, residents told us what they liked and didn't like about the proposed site and what they'd like to see there. In July 2010, 35 residents participated in a public neighborhood meeting about design preferences and issues at the ATHICA gallery space.  Residents provided feedback on design concepts to the project's design team. Every house in the neighborhood, including the streets surrounding the site, was invited via a flyer. We've met with neighbors many times. We've maintained a publicly accessible web site about the project since January 2010. 

We're ready to get to work now. BNA has voted to amend its bylaws to create a permanent "neighborhood park" steering committee. BNA and Athens Land Trust have already signed an agreement that will allow BNA to use ALT's non-profit status and professional staff to help administer a fundraising campaign. There's already a framework and precedent for doing what we're proposing: ACC signed an agreement with the Athens Chapter of the Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association to construct and maintain trails on county-owned property in East Athens. We're asking for a similar kind of agreement. Let us get to work now. 

Show Support for Boulevard Woods

Support bw sign

At its agenda-setting meeting tonight (Thursday, June 21), the Mayor and Commission will be deciding on whether to include the Boulevard Woods proposal on its regular session agenda for July.

We need to your voice (or at least your presence) at this meeting to show that’s there’s strong community support for Boulevard Woods.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at City Hall, TONIGHT, Thursday, June 21.  

You can show support by standing up and telling the Mayor and Commission why you believe they should support our efforts to create Boulevard Woods.

Or, if you’d prefer, you can simply show up and sit with a group of us Boulevard Woods supporters. Maybe you could wear one of those “Boulevard is for lubbers” t-shirts or bring a small hand-made sign saying something like “Please Support Boulevard Woods.”

Now, if you can’t come to the meeting, please take a minute to write a email to the Mayor and your commissioners asking them to please support Boulevard Woods. (Commissioner email addresses are listed below).

Tonight’s agenda-setting meeting and the the regular session meeting coming up in July are crucial for Boulevard Woods. If we make it through both of these votes, we can finally start moving from the conceptual and exploratory stage into actually doing what it takes to build a real neighborhood park.

Please join us in showing support for Boulevard Woods tonight at City Hall. Boulevard Woods needs your help.

Thank you!

Mayor and Commissioner Email Addresses

Mayor Nancy Denson nancy.denson@athensclarkecounty.com

District 1–Doug Lowry doug.lowry@athensclarkecounty.com

District 2–Harry Sims harry.sims@athensclarkecounty.com

District 3–George Maxwell george.maxwell@athensclarkecounty.com

District 4–Alice Kinman alice.kinman@athensclarkecounty.com

District 5–Jared Bailey jared.bailey@athensclarkecounty.com

District 6–Ed Robinson ed.robinson@athensclarkecounty.com

District 7–Kathy Hoard kathy.hoard@athensclarkecounty.com

District 8–Andy Herod andy.herod@athensclarkecounty.com

District 9–Kelly Girtz kelly.girtz@athensclarkecounty.com

District 10–Mike Hamby mike.hamby@athensclarkecounty.com

 

Action Alert: Agenda-Setting Vote Coming Up, June 21

Some very good news to report: ACC staff have recommended that the Mayor and Commission give us a green light to move forward with Boulevard Woods.

They're recommending that ACC designate the largest parcel of our Boulevard Woods site for use as a passive park and give staff permission to develop an agreement with us to build and provide ongoing maintenance for "Boulevard Woods."  (You can link to the full ACC commission agenda item recommendation on Boulevard Woods here.)

At it's Thursday, June 21 agenda-setting meeting, the Mayor and Commission will be voting on whether to include the Boulevard Woods proposal on its regular session agenda for July 3. 

We need to your voice (or at least your presence) at this meeting to show that's there's strong community support for Boulevard Woods. 

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at City Hall, this Thursday, June 21.  

You can show support by standing up and telling the Mayor and Commission why you believe they should support our efforts to create Boulevard Woods. 

Or, if you'd prefer, you can simply show up and sit with a group of us Boulevard Woods supporters. Maybe you could wear one of those "Boulevard is for lubbers" t-shirts or bring a small hand-made sign saying something like "Please Support Boulevard Woods."

Thursday's meeting and the the regular session meeting coming up in July are crucial for Boulevard Woods. If we make it through both of these votes, we can finally start moving from the conceptual and exploratory stage into actually doing what it takes to build a real neighborhood park. 

Please join us in showing support for Boulevard Woods this Thursday at City Hall. Boulevard Woods needs your help.

 

Tell Them You Support Boulevard Woods

If you support Boulevard Woods, it's time to contact the Mayor and your Commissioners to let them know.

At their next work session meeting–Tuesday, March 13–the Mayor and Commission will be discussing the Leisure Service Department and its plans and priorities for the future. The discussion is likely to touch on public support for pocket parks and projects like Boulevard Woods.

Mayor Denson let us know about this, and encouraged us to come to the meeting to hear the discussion firsthand. The meeting takes place at the Dougherty St. Government Building, 120 W. Dougherty St., and starts at 5:30 p.m. There are no opportunities for public comment at work session meetings.

But we can make sure that everyone at that meeting knows about Boulevard Woods.

Please take a few moments to write a brief email message to the Mayor and your commissioners in support of Boulevard Woods. And please feel free to contact other commissioners (not just the ones representing your district) you may know as well.

Here's the email message I'll be sending. Feel free to adapt it as you see fit.

* * *

Dear Mayor and Commissioners:

Please support Boulevard Neighborhood Association's plan to create "Boulevard Woods."

You will likely be hearing more about this plan at the upcoming March 13 work session where you are scheduled to discuss the Leisure Service Department's plans and priorities.

Boulevard Woods is a neighborhood-driven plan to create a neighborhood-funded public green space on vacant parcels currently owned by ACC.

Boulevard Woods won't cost ACC very much at all. Neighborhood residents are asking for about $2000 for a safe pedestrian crosswalk, but are planning to fund all other costs of building the park, and they plan to provide for the ongoing maintenance, too.

Boulevard Woods will be a low-cost, easy-to-maintain public green space open from dawn to dusk. No basketball or tennis courts. No water fountains. No lighting. Just a few seating areas, an improved bus stop, a bike rack, a fence for safety, a trash can or two, a place for neighborhood gatherings, a couple of spots to look into wooded areas, a short ADA-approved paved path on top and a nature trail below. 

If the neighborhood association doesn't raise the funds needed for these features, then Boulevard Woods isn't built–and the lots remain as they are now.

Under the plan being put forward by Boulevard Neighborhood Association, the neighborhood association will partner with ACC's Leisure Services Department to develop and supervise a plan for Boulevard Woods. This will be an arrangement much like the existing partnership between ACC and SOBRA (the Athens Chapter of Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association) for multi-use trails on ACC-owned land in East Athens.

Athens Land Trust is willing to help Boulevard Neighborhood Association do the necessary fundraising.

With just a little help from ACC and some luck fundraising, the residents of Boulevard and surrounding neighborhoods will get a much desired neighborhood green space to enjoy. In return, ACC will have leveraged private resources to create a lasting public asset.

Please join fellow commissioners in supporting Boulevard Woods.

Learn more about Boulevard Woods at http://boulevardwoods.net.

Sincerely,

Dan Lorentz

* * *

Email addresses for the Mayor and Commissioners:

Mayor Nancy Denson nancy.denson@athensclarkecounty.com

District 1–Doug Lowry doug.lowry@athensclarkecounty.com

District 2–Harry Sims harry.sims@athensclarkecounty.com

District 3–George Maxwell george.maxwell@athensclarkecounty.com

District 4–Alice Kinman alice.kinman@athensclarkecounty.com

District 5–Jared Bailey jared.bailey@athensclarkecounty.com

District 6–Ed Robinson ed.robinson@athensclarkecounty.com

District 7–Kathy Hoard kathy.hoard@athensclarkecounty.com

District 8–Andy Herod andy.herod@athensclarkecounty.com

District 9–Kelly Girtz kelly.girtz@athensclarkecounty.com

District 10–Mike Hamby mike.hamby@athensclarkecounty.com

Dear Mayor: We Need Your Help

Here's a letter we've just sent to Mayor Nancy Denson asking her to give permission to ACC staff to help us work together to move the Boulevard Woods project forward.

Mayor Denson has already replied: she says she's looking into the logisitics of how she and ACC may be able to help.

This is good news. But it can't hurt to have the Mayor hear from a bunch of us that we need her help now.

Email the Mayor–at nancy.denson@athensclarkecounty.com–and encourage her to let ACC staff continue to work with us on Boulevard Woods.

bnalogoMarch 5, 2012

Mayor Nancy Denson
Athens-Clarke County Unified Government
301 College Ave.
Suite 300
Athens, GA  30601

Re:  Proposal for “Boulevard Woods”

Dear Mayor Denson:

I’m writing on behalf of the Boulevard Neighborhood Association, Inc. to ask for your help in creating "Boulevard Woods".

"Boulevard Woods" is a proposal by the Boulevard Neighborhood Association, Inc. (BNA) to partner with Athens-Clarke County Leisure Services to establish and maintain a 2.3 acre public green space on three vacant county-owned lots located off of Barber Street where Boulevard ends.

We are proposing a low-cost, easy-to-maintain public green space that is a convenient place for neighbors to relax, bring kids to play safely or take a stroll along a nature trail.

BNA intends to raise the funds and, under the supervision of ACC's Leisure Services Department, coordinate the use of contracted work, volunteer labor and donated materials to build "Boulevard Woods" as well as to provide for its ongoing maintenance.

Please note that we're proposing to make the construction of "Boulevard Woods" contingent on a successful fundraising campaign. If we fail to raise sufficient funds by a certain date, we will not begin construction, and the lots will simply remain vacant as they are now.

In many ways, the framework of our proposal is similar to the recently executed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Athens Chapter of Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association (SOBRA) and ACC's Leisure Services Department that allowed SOBRA–under supervision by Leisure Services–to construct and maintain multi-use trails on county-owned property in East Athens. Like SOBRA, we're seeking an agreement with ACC Leisure Services to establish a partnership to create and maintain "Boulevard Woods."

We've already invested a lot time and work into this project for our neighborhood. To move forward at this point, we need your help.

Specifically, we'd like to ask you to direct ACC Leisure Services staff and the staff of any other relevant departments (e.g. Transportation and Public Works, Planning, Attorney’s Office and Athens Transit) to continue assisting Boulevard Neighborhood Association in developing (1) an appropriate plan for "Boulevard Woods" and (2) a Memorandum of Understanding establishing a "Boulevard Woods" partnership between BNA and ACC Leisure Services.

To date ACC staff from multiple departments have been very responsive in answering our questions and helping us address planning challenges. We've been advised that they need a green light from you to continue helping us. (While we've already done much of the work, there are few details involving, for example, a crosswalk and a bus stop will require closer cooperation with ACC departments to complete.)

When the time comes, we would also like to ask for your help in making sure "Boulevard Woods" is put on the agenda for any required consideration or action by the Mayor and Commission.

For more details about "Boulevard Woods," including a concept drawing, please refer to the attachments to this letter. You may also want to visit our web site for the project at boulevardwoods.net.

We're ready and eager to take the next steps with this project. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Thank you so much for your consideration. Please let us know if you have any questions or other concerns.

Sincerely,

Dan Lorentz, Chairperson
Boulevard Neighborhood Association
325 Lyndon Ave.
Athens, GA 30601

cc: Pam Reidy, Director, Leisure Services Department
      Kelly Girtz, Commissioner
      George Maxwell, Commissioner
      Mike Hamby, Commissioner
      Jared Bailey, Commissioner

Attachments

Download Bw key points

Download Bw concept drawing 3-4-12

Help the Design Team–Fill Out Early Feedback Questionnaire

We're getting close to beginning work on a preliminary plan for a park at the Barber St. site, but the "design team" that will be putting that first plan on paper needs your help.

As you may know already, the site for the potential park—located at 298 Barber St., on the East side of the intersection of Barber St. and Boulevard—is currently an unused lot owned by Athens-Clarke Co. 

We want to know what kind of park uses you think are appropriate for this 1.8-acre site.

Download a PDF version of the Early Feedback Questionnaire (22.8K) or use the online version at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/barberstreet—to let us know what you’re thinking.

Right now we’re working with the Boulevard Neighborhood Association, which—under the county’s Keep Athens-Clarke Co. Beautiful program—has “adopted’ the site for purposes of limited clearing, site documentation and trash pick-ups.  We’re hoping eventually to get the county’s approval for a park at this site, but doing so will take many steps, including this early step of giving our “design team” some site-specific ideas and preferences to work with.

Our survey last year gave us lots of ideas but these weren't tied to a particular location. Now, that we have a potential site—a site you can walk around in and explore—we need you to imagine your park desires in a real place.

Please visit the site. Repeated visits at different times (week days, weekends, morning, afternoon, early evening) are encouraged. During your visits, we'd like you to do respond to the questions in the attached questionnaire. Simple lists are all that's expected. Please feel free to share thoughts or comments that aren't captured by the questions. Diagrams, sketches, doodles are welcome, too. You might find this map of existing conditions handy to have on your site visits.(1261.1K)

When you go to the site, please be very careful.  Please stay in the areas where we trimmed back the
vegetation and stay out of the wooded areas.

There are lots of vines, stumps and fallen branches to trip on. Some of slopes are quite steep. Watch your step!

We’ll need your responses no later than Wednesday, April 14.

This will not be your only opportunity to provide input. You and the whole neighborhood will be invited to contribute to future plans. But your contribution at this early stage will be very important to the design team. The input you provide will be the first detailed input based on this specific site. It will be very helpful in generating the preliminary plan to be presented later for review and modification. This is an early but important step. Please help.

Take a Closer Look at This Existing Conditions Map

barberstsitemap2-26-10

Click here to view larger size

This recently created map, which debuted at a neighborhood party last weekend, shows existing conditions at the potential Barber St. park site.

The map is not plan (we don't have one yet) and it's not a precise survey of the parcel (which we may still need), but it does fairly accurately show how the parcel relates to bordering streets and neighboring properties. It also shows the approximate location and scale of some major features within the parcel, including large trees, a stone wall, vegetation boundaries, embankments,  and open areas. (The location of the major trees and other features indicated within the first 200 or so feet from Barber St.–basically those within the yellow areas–is approximate. The location of other trees–those in the green/gray area–have been drawn in loosely to suggest the density of tree cover as the site slopes towards a stream bed.)

Yellow indicates open areas

Brown/black hatch marks show ridges, major slope boundaries

Green/gray indicates thick vegetation growth

Circles with center points show trees and tree canopies

Blue indicates stream and stream buffer

This map depicts conditions on the site as it was at the end of February, 2010. The map was created by Henry Parker, an architect, landscape architect and planner and Allen Stovall, a landscape architect and professor emeritus of UGA's College of Environment and Design.

Thanks to Henry and Allen for putting this together!

You can learn more about the site and about the park project here.

View Site Map at Neighborhood Party

A map showing key features of the Barber St. site as it currently exists will be on display at a neighborhood party Saturday. This is not a plan, but an early draft of a survey showing locations of major trees, cleared areas, slopes and other features of the site as it is now.

Allen Stovall, a retired UGA landscape architecture professor, Henry Parker, a licensed landscape architect, and Dan Lorentz, a park project volunteer organizer, and others will be there to answer questions about the park project.

The neighborhood party takes place at Little Kings, 223 W. Hancock St., from 4-6 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 27.

The party is an informal neighborhood get-together organized and sponsored by the Boulevard Neighborhood Association for neighborhood residents.  There will be a bake sale, and opportunities to learn about a variety of neighborhood events and projects.