A Project Timeline

Our Progress So Far

2009

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.

2010

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.

 2011

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.

Next Steps

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!

Concept Plan

Boulevard Woods 3-4-12

 

Boulevard Woods Concept Plan by the Boulevard Woods Design Team. Image produced by Kevan Williams.

This (above) is the concept plan we’ve developed for Boulevard Woods.

It’s the product of lots of hard work by our Design Team, and it’s based on lots of feedback from neighborhood residents and from park project volunteers. We conducted a survey and a questionnaire to learn about preferences for park uses and amenities. And we held a charrette to gather specific feedback on alternative park designs.

Remember, this is our concept plan. Neither this plan nor the use of the site as a park have yet been approved by Athens-Clarke Co. We are seeking such approval, but it hasn’t been granted yet.

Right now, ACC is proposal a slightly smaller site size for Boulevard Woods. You can see this proposal here.

Note, too, that the park we actually end up building may differ from the concept plan described here. The county may ask for changes, for example. Or, as we learn more about the topography of the site, our design team may–most likely will–want to tweak things. It’s also possible that we might raise more or less money than we expected, which would change what we can afford to build.

Still, we’ve developed a good concept plan–one that reflects what the neighborhood wants and that we’ll use to guide our ongoing discussions with Athens-Clarke County about how to develop the potential park.

Now, let’s take a tour of the key features and amenities.

  • Neighborhood landmark. Located on Barber Street right where Boulevard ends (or begins), the site is well-situated to serve as a neighborhood landmark.  And park features such as the enhanced pedestrian crosswalks, a street-facing fence an entrance plaza integrated with an improved bus shelter and a canopy walk aligned with the direction of Boulevard will all serve to create a “landmark” feel to the place.
  • Enhanced crosswalks. Bold pedestrian crosswalks combined with signage will make pedestrian access to the park safe, and improve over-all pedestrian safety at this key intersection.
  • Entrance plaza and improved bus shelter. A small entrance plaza, with an improved bus shelter, will provide a natural access point via a gate to the park.
  • Local art. We plan to integrate local art–possibly including mosaics,  sculptural pieces, and benches made of found-objects or materials from the site–into the park’s features.
  • Street-facing fence. A fence stretching the length of the Barber Street face of the park will provide definition and safety for park users, including kids at play.
  • Play lawn. Located at the “top” of the park, this open lawn will make a good play area for kids. Plenty of seating will be provided in this area, including seating that overlooks the interior of the park.
  • Canopy look-out. This will be a kind of pier that extends from the “top” part of the site out over the terraces drop off from it. The look-out will take users closer into dense tree canopy in the site’s interior and will enable people to see deep into the site.
  • Overlooks. In addition to the canopy look-out, there will be one or two seating areas on the “top” part of the park that will allow people to look down into the lower terrace.
  • Neighborhood gathering area/stormwater feature. Tucked into natural contours, this amphitheater-like space could serve as welcoming place for small acoustic concerts or outdoor meetings or simply as an attractive place to sit. A a shallow channel for stormwater runoff might be incorporated in the amphitheater.
  • Bioswale. A stormwater runoff streams runs through the site. We’ll turn at least part of this stream into an attractive bioswale.
  • ADA paved path. To make sure everyone can gain access to most of the site, which has some rather steep declines, we’ll build a paved path at an handicapped-accessible grade.
  • Seating nook. There’ll be seating areas throughout the site, including a few seating nooks where small groups of people could gather.
  • Wishing well. We discovered a deep hand-dug well on the site. It’s now covered with a light- and rain-permeable grate, but we hope create some sort of feature that highlights the well.
  • Gathering space. Set in the interior of the site, this simple gathering space will likely consist of rustic benches benches facing each other with shade provided by trees.
  • Mulched trails. Mulched trails will meaning through the site, though we’ll be careful to keep the trails from encroaching too close to adjacent properties.
  • Maintenance gate. This will allow landscape maintenance equipment to access the site.
  • Privacy plantings. There will be a variety of plantings–and possibly fences or other  in strategic locations designed to enhance the privacy of the park’s neighbors.

So, what’s next for the park project?

Well, many other steps are to follow before any actual construction takes place. These include securing permission to use the site as a park, incorporating feedback from Athens Clarke County into a final buildable park plan, developing a plan to build the park in phases, creating some form of county/neighborhood park partnership and demonstrating success in fundraising.

Still, the concept plan is a big step forward. Everyone in the neighborhood owes thanks to our Design Team for developing an exciting yet practical plan that captures Boulevard’s spirit.

Concept Plan for Boulevard Woods

BLVDWOOD

Boulevard Woods Concept Plan by the Boulevard Woods Design Team. Image produced by Kevan Williams.

You may have read about it in the Boulevard Neighborhood Association’s Fall 2010 newsletter, but for the first time on this web site, here’s the concept plan we’ve developed for Boulevard Woods.

It’s the product of lots of hard work by our Design Team, and it’s based on lots of feedback from neighborhood residents and from park project volunteers. We conducted a survey and a questionnaire to learn about preferences for park uses and amenities. And we held a charrette to gather specific feedback on alternative park designs.

Remember, this is our concept plan. Neither this plan nor the use of the site as a park have yet been approved by Athens-Clarke Co. We are seeking such approval, but it hasn’t been granted yet.

Note, too, that the park we actually end up building may differ from the concept plan described here. The county may ask for changes, for example. Or, as we learn more about the topography of the site, our design team may–most likely will–want to tweak things. It’s also possible that we might raise more or less money than we expected, which would change what we can afford to build.

Still, we’ve developed a good concept plan–one that reflects what the neighborhood wants and that we’ll use to guide our ongoing discussions with Athens-Clarke County about how to develop the potential park.

Now, let’s take a tour of the key features and amenities.

  • Neighborhood landmark. Located on Barber Street right where Boulevard ends (or begins), the site is well-situated to serve as a neighborhood landmark.  And park features such as the enhanced pedestrian crosswalks, a street-facing fence an entrance plaza integrated with an improved bus shelter and a canopy walk aligned with the direction of Boulevard will all serve to create a “landmark” feel to the place.
  • Enhanced crosswalks. Bold pedestrian crosswalks combined with signage will make pedestrian access to the park safe, and improve over-all pedestrian safety at this key intersection.
  • Entrance plaza and improved bus shelter. A small entrance plaza, with an improved bus shelter, will provide a natural access point via a gate to the park.
  • Local art. We plan to integrate local art–possibly including mosaics,  sculptural pieces, and benches made of found-objects or materials from the site–into the park’s features.
  • Street-facing fence. A fence stretching the length of the Barber Street face of the park will provide definition and safety for park users, including kids at play.
  • Play lawn. Located at the “top” of the park, this open lawn will make a good play area for kids. Plenty of seating will be provided in this area, including seating that overlooks the interior of the park.
  • Canopy walk. This will be a kind of pier that extends from the “top” part of the site out over the terraces drop off from it. The walk will take users into dense tree canopy in the site’s interior and will enable people to see deep into the site.
  • Overlooks. In addition to the canopy walk, there will be one or two seating areas on the “top” part of the park that will allow people to look down into the lower terrace.
  • Amphitheater/stormwater feature. Tucked into natural contours, this amphitheater-like space could serve as welcoming place for small acoustic concerts or outdoor meetings or simply as an attractive place to sit. A a shallow channel for stormwater runoff might be incorporated in the amphitheater.
  • Bioswale. A stormwater runoff streams runs through the site. We’ll turn at least part of this stream into an attractive bioswale.
  • ADA paved path. To make sure everyone can gain access to most of the site, which has some rather steep declines, we’ll build a paved path at an handicapped-accessible grade.
  • Seating nook. There’ll be seating areas throughout the site, including a few seating nooks where small groups of people could gather.
  • Crawford Street Gate. To enhance security and provide boundary definition, there’ll be a gate facing Crawford Street.
  • Wishing well. We discovered a deep hand-dug well on the site. It’s now covered with a light- and rain-permeable grate, but we hope create some sort of feature that highlights the well.
  • Gathering space. Set in the interior of the site, this simple gathering space will likely consist of rustic benches benches facing each other with shade provided by trees.
  • Mulched trails. Mulched trails will meaning through the site, though we’ll be careful to keep the trails from encroaching too close to adjacent properties.
  • Maintenance gate. This will allow landscape maintenance equipment to access the site.
  • Privacy plantings. There will be a variety of plantings–and possibly fences or other  in strategic locations designed to enhance the privacy of the park’s neighbors.

So, what’s next for the park project?

Well, many other steps are to follow before any actual construction takes place. These include securing permission to use the site as a park, incorporating feedback from Athens Clarke County into a final buildable park plan, developing a plan to build the park in phases, creating some form of county/neighborhood park partnership and demonstrating success in fundraising.

Still, the concept plan is a big step forward. Everyone in the neighborhood owes thanks to our Design Team for developing an exciting yet practical plan that captures Boulevard’s spirit. There’ll be more about next steps in future posts.

Oh, and by the way, you may have noticed that we’re calling the park “Boulevard Woods” now. That’s the name that got the most votes from neighborhood residents at the charrette we held. It has a nice ring to it, and it seems to be catching on.

Design Team

Here are the members of our Design Team. Based on lots of neighborhood input and feedback, they developed a composite plan for a park at the site.

  • Allen Stovall, a landscape architect and professor emeritus of UGA’s College of Environment and Design, leads the team.
  • Greg Denzin is a professional landscape designer.
  • Krysia Haag is an Athens-based mosaicist, with experience in public art projects.
  • Katherine Melcher is an assistant professor at UGA’s College of Environment and Design.
  • Henry Parker is an architect, landscape architect and planner.
  • Kevan Williams has a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from UGA and is architecture and development columnist for Flagpole Magazine.

Dan Lorentz and Marci White, two lead organizers for the overall park project, also work closely with the design team.

Neighborhood Charrette* Scheduled

BLVDWOODS
Legend box from draft concept #1. Image by Kevan Williams.

The Barber St. Park Project is moving forward, and we need your input.

Our design team has developed four alternative design concepts for a possible park or public green space at the Barber St. site. We need you to take a look at these concepts and let us know what you think about them.

You can inspect and comment on the designs at a neighborhood charrette — or design input session — on Monday, July 26 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the ATHICA gallery space, 160 Tracy St. Unit 4. (Find ATHICA here.)

Input at this event will be crucial in developing the final proposal we'll present to the county.

Please come, exchange views with your neighbors and tell our design team what you think. There will be refreshments, too.

___ ___ ___

* What's a charrette? Here's what Wikipedia says.

Design Team Gets Started

setting up

After having individually explored the site multiple times over the past months and after having absorbed results from our Early Feedback Questionnaire, our design team met for the first time June 16.

We compared site analysis notes and bounced design ideas off one another for nearly three hours. [Above, design team sets up for concept presentations.]

The next step is to synthesize that discussion to produce a set of design concept alternatives to show to the neighborhood for more input before a final concept is proposed. (That synthesis is being put together right now, and we hope to announce a neighborhood input meeting or two very soon, so stay tuned. And remember: the proposal we come up with will be just that–a proposal that will have to be reviewed, modified and approved by the county.)

Here are photos from the meeting. They give a feel for what happened and a peek at some of the preliminary concepts.

Presentations

parker

Henry Parker, an architect and planner, kicks-off the concept presentations.

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denzin

Greg Denzin answers a question about a proposed bio-swale. Denzin is a professional landscape designer.

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melcher

Katherine Melcher discusses her analysis of the site, one aspect of which focused on the from-the-street visibility of different zones in the parcel. Melcher is an assistant professor at UGA's College of Environment and Design.

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williams

Kevan Williams, a recently graduated UGA landscape architecture student, points out how circulation might work in the site.

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stovall

Allen Stovall, the leader of the design team, responds to a question from Denzin about his site analysis. Stovall is a landscape architect and professor emeritus of UGA's College of Environment and Design.

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haag

Mosaicist Krysia Haag talks about incorporating a community-driven mosaic project into the site. Examples of Haag's mosaic projects can be seen at Daily Groceries, on Prince Ave. and at Chase St. School.

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Concepts


parkerconcept

Parker's concept includes organic shapes and simple amenities.

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denzin concept

Denzin's analysis which included a system of paths and paid close attention to the location of specimen trees.

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williamsconcept

As part of his analysis, Williams focused on how to use the site's terraces to transition to different parts of the parcel.

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melcherconcept

Melcher's site analysis puts forward suggestions about possible use areas based on visibility and safety considerations.

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stovallconcept

A close-up of Stovall's concept showing pedestrian crosswalks, paths inside the site, use-areas and possible trails.

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haag's birds

A quick, suggestive sketch by Haag giving an idea how a mosaic might be incorporated into a low-wall or fence at the front of the site.

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Thanks to all the design team members for their work, and thanks to Allen Stovall for organizing the meeting.

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.

Photos of Site Map at BNA Neighborhood Party

maps1

A newly created map showing existing conditions and an old aerial photograph of the Barber St. site on display during a Feb. 27 Neighborhood Party organized by the Boulevard Neighborhood Association. The party took place at Little Kings, a bar on W. Hancock St.

map2

Allen Stovall, a landscape architect and professor emeritus of UGA’s College of Environment and Design, answering questions about the site and the park project. The map was created by Henry Parker, an architect, landscape architect and planner, and Stovall.

NOTE: Sorry for the poor photo quality. These are cell phone shots. I forgot my “real” camera. I also wish I had taken a shot showing how many people were at the party–there was a really good crowd–but the party distracted me!

Concepts

Our design team has prepared four alternative design concepts for a potential park. These were presented to neighborhood residents at a charrette* that took place Monday, July 26 at the ATHICA gallery space in the Tracy St. warehouses.

At the charrette, residents ranked their favorite designs and wrote comments on notecards and on pages pinned to the wall.

We invite you to let us know which of these designs is your favorite. We also want to know what you like and don’t like about any of the designs. For example, while concept A1 may be your favorite, you might also really like some particular feature in concept B2. Tell us things like that, too.

Before reviewing the four concepts, you might find it helpful to take a look at the circulation study, the existing conditions map and the potential park elements study.

Please note that the potential site for the park now includes two additional vacant, county-owned parcels.  These parcels border the original parcel. They were acquired by the county in 1993 as part of a tax settlement. Learn more here.

Use the comments function to let us know what you think, or send an email to Dan Lorentz at lorentz.d@gmail.com.

To get a closer look, click here to view or download a PDF file containing all four concepts, plus the context maps and studies.

Context Maps and Studies

Site parcels

parcelmap

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Existing conditions

existingconditions

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Circulation study

circulationstudy

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Potential park elements

parkelements

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Four Design Concepts

Concept A1

a1

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Concept B1

b1

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Concept A2

a2

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Concept B2

b2

__________

* charrette  [shuhret] n. a meeting or conference devoted to a concerted effort to solve a design problem or plan something. Alternative spelling: charette.