Parks/Trails/Greenspaces park-day1

Published on September 22nd, 2016 |

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LBI reports more successes in promoting and creating urban parks, trails

The Livable Buckhead board heard one parks and trails success story after another during its Sept. 21 meeting—from the takeover for a day of Lenox Square’s parking lot for an observance of the global PARK(ing) Day, to the plans for Old Ivy Park and the continued successful completion of sections of the PATH400 greenway.

The Patagonia exhibit at PARK(ing) Day at Lenox Square which won the

The Patagonia exhibit at PARK(ing) Day at Lenox Square which won the Meanest Greenest award.

On Friday Sept. 17, 15 groups transformed the Lenox Square Mall parking lot into an imaginative greenspace complete with flowering shrubs, bike-powered smoothies and a boardwalk. It drew 80- to 1,000 observers and participants.

The annual PARK(ing) Day event gives citizens, artists and activists the ability to temporarily transform parking spaces into public places to highlight the need for more urban open space.

Livable Buckhead organized the local event and used the opportunity to raise funds for the organization’s work to add 106 acres of greenspace to Buckhead.

Participating businesses and organizations creatively competerd for awards in a variety of categories. HGOR and Collins Cooper Carusi teamed up, using their skills in architecture and planning to build an elaborate mini-park with a boardwalk, a feature wall made of wooden pallets and plenty of flowering shrubs, ornamental grasses and other plants.

Their work paid off with the group effort earning the People’s Choice award by popular vote and the Most Creative award from the PARK(ing) Day judges. Other award winners were: Most Unusual: WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff, Meanest Greenest: Patagonia,  Most Buckhead: Domain at Phipps Plaza and Most Interactive:  Rosser International.

The front parking lot was filled with PARK(ing) Day exhibits, which drew between 800-1,000 people.

The front parking lot was filled with PARK(ing) Day exhibits, which drew between 800-1,000 people.

“This event was a great way for Buckhead to creatively think about the ways that urban greenspace contributes to our quality of life,” said Denise Starling, executive director of Livable Buckhead.

“It was fun to see all the different takes on what a park can be, whether it’s a place to sit and relax with a cold beverage or a great spot to hop on your bike and pedal away the stress of the day,” Starling added. “I’m really thankful to our participants for putting so much time and effort into bringing their mini-parks to life.”

PARK(ing) Day was sponsored by Simon Property Group, Domain at Phipps Plaza, HGOR, Gibbs Landscape Co., AMLI Residential, Kimley-Horn, Paramount at Buckhead, Patagonia, and North Georgia Land Services.

Speaking of creating a new Buckhead park with multiple functions, Starling reported to the board on the public vetting of the concepts for the new Old Ivy Park at the connection point of Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the PATH400 greenway, where the trail crosses Old Ivy Road.

She spoke of some of the public’s design suggestions that came from the 50-plus people who attended the recent meeting at the Sarah Smith Primary

School, some of which are being implemented into the final designs.

LBI Executive Director Denise Starling explains the various elements of the planned new Old Ivy Park design to LBI board members.

LBI Executive Director Denise Starling explains the various elements of the planned new Old Ivy Park design to LBI board members.

Starling also spoke of raising the funds to build the park and said the next step would be the formation of a Friends of Old Ivy Park group to head up the fundraising even though their presently is not an estimate of what it will cost to create the park. She also said this park is a perfect opportunity for a Park Pride grant.

Starling and board member Sally Silver said they are working with the city to try and get approval for providing donor recognition for contributions to elements of the park—naming rights that the city has fought allowing in the past.

“We have to have donor recognition,” Silver told the board, especially as donor money gets tighter due to so many projects seeking financial help.

An example of that which was discussed at the meeting was the plight of the Friends of Mountain Way park, who have been trying to raise $100,000 for their part of a $100,000 matching grant from Park Pride.

Dan Weede told the LBI board the group had only been able to raise $65,000 of the $100,000 and finally decided to take the $65,000 from Park Pride now. He said they decided to focus on the pedestrian bridge area of the park and stay out of the way of PATH400 and its connectivity needs.  Weede said part of the $65,000 was from a Waterfall Grant of $25,000 that “came out of the blue.”

Friends of Mountain Way Common President Dan Weede welcomes people to the official ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening of the bridge at 10 a.m. Sept. 2.

Friends of Mountain Way Common President Dan Weede welcomes people to the official ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening of the bridge on Sept. 2, 2015.

Starling also reported on the continuing progress of PATH400, stating that the landscaping is going in on Phase 2 from Old Ivy to Wieuca Road and crews were finalizing putting in rails. She said the link between Sidney Marcus and Miami Circle has “been a bit bumpy recently” with issues concerning putting in the perma track. She said hopes are to have it completed by November.

The next link for attention is the one between Miami Circle and Lenox Square, which she said will probably be “the people’s favorite part of the trail” because it crosses under the two rail lines. She is negotiating with the Peachtree Park neighborhood on changes they want on the sound wall. Starling hopes to get that section under contract next month.

One of the more interesting things happening along the trail in Phase 1 involves artists doing chalk drawings on the wall. “It is fun to watch them do their work,” Starling told the board. In November they hope to do all five panels of the wall with chalk. She said the chalk will eventually wash away with rain, but because the wall is vertical, that process is much slower.

She also told the LBI board members that the wall is now painted so that if taggers get to it, like they did earlier, the wall can be painted over.

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