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.