By Ken Edelstein, Candler Park Conservancy Board Member
Thanks to a $60,000 grant from CPNO, the Candler Park Conservancy is moving forward on the design of two major projects that are part of the Conservancy’s 2017 Vision Plan. And we want your input along the way.
“This grant gives us a great opportunity to put some momentum behind the Vision Plan,” Conservency Chair Dan Hanlon said. “We’re very optimistic that we can help the city to turn Candler Park into a model of sustainable recreation. Part of the reason is that we have an incredibly active, engaged community behind us.”
CPNO offered the grant to the Conservancy to perform surveys, complete a schematic design and estimate costs for improvements to the active lawn (also known as the “multipurpose field”) and for converting the adjacent hillside where performances often are held into an amphitheater. Should the Conservancy and the city agree to go ahead with either or both project, additional fundraising will be required.
The two projects are intended make the active lawn and the performance more resilient, so that they can be used for multiple activities without being damaged. At the same time, certain features are being considered that would improve sustainability of the park and the experience of park visitors.
Residents identified both projects as high priorities during Conservancy’s Vision Plan process, and the amphitheater idea was among the needs highlighted by the 2013 Candler Park (neighborhood) Master Plan. In a follow-up process shepherded by the Conservancy’s Projects Committee, both continued to rank high.
Then, last year, CPNO board members expressed their interest in kick-starting the active lawn and amphitheater.
“These are the two projects for which we’ve seen the most interest in the community,” said Dana Fowle, president of CPNO. “In addition, because CPNO uses the field for Fall Fest and because we sponsor movie nights, we feel a responsibility to be good stewards by helping to make both those areas more resilient.”
In advance of design, the Conservancy has hired Tucker-based GeoSurveys to perform a variety of studies on the entire section of the park that lies south of the golf course. Among these are a field survey, a utility search and hydrological modeling. This was determined to be necessary to ensure that designers understand not only the site of the two projects, but also how those projects might affect nearby areas and the watershed that handles their runoff. An added benefit is that it puts other Vision Plan projects in a better position to proceed (when and if design money is found for them as well).
At the same time, the Conservancy has engaged landscape architects at Perkins+Will, the well-known firm that worked with us pro bono on the Vision Plan. Perkins+Will is helping the Conservancy’s Active Lawn/Amphitheater Task Force to engage stakeholders in the nitty-gritty details of their wants and needs. Among those expected to participate are the soccer leagues, festival organizers, movie night producers and others that already use the active lawn and the performance area. And the actual owner of the park — the City of Atlanta — will, of course, be in on the discussions as well.
Other community engagement steps will include discussions over the next couple of months at CPNO meetings, check-ins with the CPNO Board, and a neighborhood feedback session tentatively set for late August.
You need not wait for those formal opportunities, though. If you’d like to learn more, go to candlerparkconservancy.org, where you’ll find more information on the Vision Plan. If you’d like to offer up your perspective on either project or both, please email email@example.com (be sure to place “ALA” in the subject line). The best ideas come from those who use and love the park, so please don’t be shy.