Plans for the next phase of the Greatest Generation Memorial Park have been made with the hopes of breaking ground on the project beginning within the next year, thanks to funding from a grant with the Georgia Department of Transportation. A little over $600,000 is earmarked for this project and it is set to include three new walking trails, a pavilion, landscaping and two entryways to the park.
The park committee held a meeting last week to discuss the plans with jB+a planning and landscape architects, the firm working on the project. During it, they explained the trails will offer three different length paths for those who enjoy walking through the area. The longest will be the Perimeter Trail, which will be a one and a quarter mile loop around the edge of the park. The second trail will be the Double Loop trail that offers a half mile circling both of the ponds and the third will be the Amphitheater Trail which will be a quarter mile track around the lawn/amphitheater area which can also serve as a place for weddings and other outdoor events. The committee explained they hope the trails will be landscaped with native plants in hopes of giving visitors the same feel of the Azalea Trail at Callaway Gardens.
Another aspect the committee wanted the park to have is the ability to serve as a gateway to the community. Their hopes are that it will draw the attention of not only locals, but also out-of-town visitors who may be traveling on Highway 19, which is where the two entryways come in. One will be located at the intersection of Highway 19 and R Street and the other at Highway 19 and L Street, marking off the boundaries of the park. The entryway plans include signage, trees, flowering landscapes and cobblestone pavers on the road to let visitors know they are entering a park area. The cobblestone pavers will be located at each main entrance as well as along Goodrich Avenue, R Street and L Street to separate the path to the park from the residential neighborhood.
The master plan for the park was also discussed during the meeting. It will eventually include a memorial for both the textile workers and the veterans of World War II, an outdoor classroom, a flag court with military, state and federal flags, replacing diseased and increasing vegetation to provide a more diverse landscape of trees in the park and additional parking.
Several residents of R Street were concerned about one of the future parking lots, which will possibly be located on the park side of the alley that runs behind their houses. This particular parking lot is planned to be a gravel lot with spaces that fit between the trees so as not to take away from any more of the park. With this plan the alley would also be made one-way and realigned to match the parking lot entrance of the church. Residents were concerned that there would be an increase in traffic, security issues and safety issues. Nothing is set in stone for that area yet and Mayor Hays Arnold noted that particular parking and realignment is in a different phase of the park and there is not funding designated for that phase as of yet. After much discussion on the issue, it was agreed that one resident of the area which would be affected would sit in on the committee meetings and act as a liaison between the committee and the residents.