Boulevard Woods

 
Boulevard-Woods-logo-col-v
 
Visit www.boulevardwoods.org  and for more information please contact Dan Lorentz,
boulevardwoods@gmail.com.
 
The website listed above is part of a neighborhood-based volunteer effort to design and build a park here in Athens, Ga. on vacant land on Barber Street where Boulevard ends. For the time being at least we’re calling the park we want to create Boulevard Woods. (We used to call ourselves the Barber Street Park Project. We’re the same people, but we’ve changed the name of our web site.)

We definitely need your financial help now.

Any amount you can contribute will make a difference. Boulevard Woods is a community park, and whether your contribution is for $5, $25, $100, $250, $500, $1000, $5000 or any other amount, you’ll be a friend of Boulevard Woods for life.

Boulevard Woods is a project of the Boulevard Neighborhood Association, Inc. We’ve partnered with Athens Land Trust, Inc.  to handle donations. Athens Land Trust is is a 501(c)(3) organization, so your donation to Boulevard Woods is tax-deductible as allowed by law.

– See more at: http://boulevardwoods.org/contribute/give#sthash.KEkivW1l.dpuf

 

Give by writing a check

Make checks payable to Athens Land Trust. In the memo line of your check, please indicate “for Boulevard Woods.” Then send your check to:

Athens Land Trust
685 North Pope Street
Athens, GA 30601

– See more at: http://boulevardwoods.org/contribute/give#sthash.KEkivW1l.dpufGive by writing a check

 

Make checks payable to Athens Land Trust. In the memo line of your check, please indicate “for Boulevard Woods.” Then send your check to:

 

Athens Land Trust

685 North Pope Street

Athens, GA 30601

 

– See more at: http://boulevardwoods.org/contribute/give#sthash.KEkivW1l.dpuf

Location

The lot we’ve selected consists of three long vacant parcels owned by Athens-Clarke Co. The largest parcel is 1.8 acres. This land was donated to Athens by W.H. Benson in 1967, and has remained vacant and unused since then. The two other parcels–one .14 acres, the other .39 acres–were acquired by Athens-Clarke Co. in 1993 as part of a tax settlement. Further legal research is needed to establish ACC ownership. All the parcels are heavily wooded.

MAP

Note: ACC is now proposing that we scale back the site to just one parcel, the largest one. See ACC’s proposal here.

Located at the top of Boulevard, the site is well positioned to serve as a neighborhood focal point and could easily be integrated into a future greenway network and/or a rails-to-trails project

Goals

  • We want to create a park that is:
  • Built by volunteers and funded mainly by private contributions
  • Affordable to build and easy to maintain
  • Safe
  • Composed mainly of existing natural features
  • Built using simple, sustainable materials and technologies
  • An expression of neighborhood creativity

Neighborhood Input

An informal survey we conducted in 2009 not only told us that people in the area want a park—which is not surprising—but also gave us some ideas of what people want to use the park for. You can see the survey results for yourself here.

We asked people in the neighborhood to visit the site and fill out a brief questionnaire designed to give our “design team” some site specific ideas and preferences to work with in developing an early park plan. Learn more about the questionnaire here. (The questionnaire deadline has passed.)

On July 26, 2010 we held a neighborhood charrette to gather input on four alternative park concepts. You can view the archived concepts and related materials here.

In October, 2010 our design team collated the alternative concepts and the neighborhood feedback to generate our concept plan. This plan represents the kind of park we want to create. We’ll use it to guide our ongoing discussions with Athens-Clarke County about how to develop the potential park. 

Who “We” Are

This project was started by an informally organized group of people interested in creating this park. Boulevard Neighborhood Association, Inc. is now taking the lead role. Many—but not all of us—live in the Boulevard neighborhood. We’re a mixed bunch that includes students, parents, dog-owners, artists, landscape architects, professionals, gardeners, cat-owners, neighborhood do-gooders and other sorts. 

Neighborhood Support

The Boulevard Neighborhood Association is actively supporting our efforts. Through a Keep Athens-Clarke Co. Beautiful program, the Boulevard Neighborhood Association in 2009 approved a limited-term, limited-scope “adoption” of the Barber St. lot. This has given us permission to start doing some clearing and surveying work on the site. In 2010, Athens-Clarke Co.’s Planning Department granted an Environmental Areas Permit to allow volunteer work on the site. And in October 2011, Boulevard Neighborhood Association officially created its own committee (with many of the same people who were involved in the more informal park group) to help guide the park effort as it heads toward consideration by the Mayor and Commission. 

Boulevard Woods, our community-driven effort to create a distinctive neighborhood park on a long-vacant lot owned by the county, got word today that it would be given $75,000 from a foundation with a history of making contributions to Athens.

The lot, at 289 Barber Street., is situated at the junction of Boulevard, a beautiful broad residential avenue and Barber Street–a street rich in connections to the music scene in Athens.

6a00d8354c582769e20192aa33e3f9970d-800wiThe grant is from the Riverview Foundation, Inc. based in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The foundation has given grants locally to support land trust acquisitions and educational and cultural activities.

The grant will help pay for construction of the park. Before funds are released, the park plans will need to be approved by Athens-Clarke County. Additional fundraising is likely necessary. So, there’s still a lot of work ahead for us. But this is a big step forward. We owe the Riverview Foundation a huge thank you.

Boulevard Neighborhood Association, Inc. has been leading the effort to create the park since 2009. In July 2012, the Mayor and Commission approved use of the site as a passive park and approved BNA’s concept plan. ACC’s Department of Leisure Services and other departments have been have providing advice and assistance since then.

In May, a UGA College of Environment and Design senior-level studio, under the supervision of Assistant Professor Doug Pardue, helped refine the concept plan for application to the foundation. BNA also consulted with Josh Koons of Koons Environmental Design, Inc., a local design firm, to generate cost estimates for the grant application.

BNA has an agreement with Athens Land Trust, Inc. to administer fundraising–an arrangement that allows donors to claim a tax deduction.

Many people and organizations have helped us get to this point. Among them are Boulevard neighborhood residents Marci White and Allen Stovall. White ignited efforts to create the park; Stovall lead the neighborhood design team that developed the concept plan. Kevan Williams produced many illustrations and drawings for the concept plan. Krysia Haag, a local artist, has been coordinating efforts to incorporate community art projects into the park.

Mayor Nancy Denson and the Athens-Clarke County Commission, including particularly Commissioners Kelly Girtz, Jared Bailey and George Maxwell, supported the project. ACC Manger Alan Reddish, ACC Attorney Bill Berryman and ACC Director of Leisure Services Pam Reidy all have continued to provide much needed guidance and technical assistance.

ACC employees Roger Cauthen and Mel Cochran have also been extremely helpful.