Published on August 25th, 2016 |0
Design concepts unveiled for new Old Ivy Park, ‘a space that creates place’
The concept drawings by Carlos Perez of Perez Planning and Design include elements that provide a space and sense of place for just about everyone and also act as traffic calming on that busy stretch of Old Ivy Road.
There’s a casual sitting and meeting area with flexible, movable furniture; an events area with bleacher-type seating to maybe watch a movie in the park; artworks that children and adults can play and climb on and interact with and an area with exercise equipment for a workout other than walking or running on the trail.
One of the more unusual artistic elements to the design was the inclusion of various size yellow polka dots painted on the Old Ivy Road surface to catch drivers’ attention and provide a sense that they are approaching a play/activity area and need to slow down.
A big concern for the community was traffic along Old Ivy Road. Perez said traffic could be calmed by adding something that captures drivers’ attention and makes them slow down out of curiosity. Perez’s idea was the on-street painted art to achieving that.
Some 30 nearby residents turned out at the Monday evening presentations at the Sarah Smith Elementary School Intermediate Campus gym—most to catch their first glimpse at what LBI, the city and a steering committee had created. There were few negative comments—mostly agreement.
The purpose of the meeting was to generate public comments and input before going to final designs and developing a budget. On hand to help generate those comments was LBI Executive Director Denise Starling, city urban planner Daniel Calvert and, of course, Perez.
During his formal presentation to the group, Perez said the guiding principles for the design of the park were flexibility, innovative concepts, that it be inclusive and then that it be fluid, strategic, plausible and fundable.
One side of the park rises quite steeply, which Perez used as an opportunity to create terraced seating, such as for events in the park, as well as a ramp for ADA wheelchair accessibility. Open space in the park would be used for leisure, with colorful and movable tables and chairs.
The play area, which would be just off the leisure area, would include playable art and mobiles. The area closer to the PATH400 trail would be a quieter area. Across the street from the main park, stormwater capture facilities could be remade as a “stormwater park” with trails and informational signs.
The park concept extends down the street beneath a Ga. 400 overpass, where street lights and exercise equipment for children and adults might be installed, along with on-street parking for only
about seven cars.
Some in the audience questioned the wisdom of having an exercise area along the road under the bridge for GA 400 and whether there would be room for all of that along the road. Perez and Starling pointed out that by moving some of the concrete under the bridge enough room could easily be created for both the exercise area and the onstreet parking.
An “iconic” pavilion with an unusual architecture is another idea that was presented.
The Old Ivy Park idea came out of Livable Buckhead’s planning for the PATH400 multiuse trail, which now runs through the area. To make a safer, curving intersection of the trail and Old Ivy Road, Livable Buckhead bought a house at 519 Old Ivy, demolished it, and sold the land to the city as a park.
Starling said Buckhead needs more parks to create a sense of place and identity in the community. Under the “Buckhead Collection” parks plan advocated by City Councilmember Howard Shook and others, the city aims to add 106 acres of parks to the neighborhood. In the past three years, about 40 acres have been added, including the Old Ivy property.
“PATH400 is basically the spine of the Buckhead community, combining our future green spaces,” said LBI’s Starling. “It’s all about getting people around and connecting commerce to community.”
One person in the audience pointed out that in addition to being a park, “it is a trail end. Parking there is good so people could use it to walk on one
part or the other of the trail.”
Starling said she hopes to have a final design and construction cost estimate by around mid-October. Meanwhile, Livable Buckhead has posted the design concepts on its website and is accepting online public comments there through Sept. 9.