The Macon-Bibb County Parks & Recreation Department and a local nonprofit group have big plans for three downtown parks and are seeking public input about proposed designs.
The Jays Hope Foundation brought the idea of revamping Daisy, Tower and High Street parks to Parks & Recreation after receiving funding for a splash pad, Parks & Recreations business manager Ben Hamrick said.
Hamrick said the foundation pointed out that the parks lack amenities.
Together, they hired local architects to come up with a master plan to redesign the three spaces, collectively known as Triple Triangle Parks.
Wimberly Treadwell, a landscape architect for WT Designs, said the team created a proposed identity for each of them.
Were looking at complementary details to tie them together, Treadwell said. They wont physically connect ... but were looking at having some continuity yet individual character.
Treadwell said Daisy Park, on Forsyth Street, is planned as an active park. The proposal features a smaller basketball court, the splash pad, a sculpture and low walls. It is the closest park to Jays Hope Foundation on Forsyth Street and The Medical Center of Central Georgia.
Treadwell said Daisy Park would be a place for urban play.
Were talking about a water pump, low walls that they can walk up, climb on, jump off, just real low, safe, but creative play, Treadwell said. It doesnt have to be plastic. It can just be fun.
At Tower Park, on Orange Street, a crosswalk would be removed under the proposal.
Treadwell said the open green space is important because the park serves as a lawn for many of its neighbors who do not have yards.
The third park, High Street Park, would become the gathering park.
Theres a school and three churches surrounding it, but theres no place to gather and its a pretty steep slope, Treadwell said.
The park is planned to look like an amphitheater with a flat plaza that leads up to the lawn.
High Place, now a street made of brick, would become part of High Street Park under the plan.
Were going to take the old brick from the Spring Street connection, and were going to pull them up, save them and put them back, she said.
Several people seemed to agree on most of the designs and features in the proposal. However, some neighbors of the parks expressed concerns about traffic and parking.
Tony Long, who lives on Orange Street across from the basketball courts in Daisy Park, is concerned he would not be able to get in and out of his 7-foot-wide driveway if his part of Orange Street is closed to expand Daisy Park.
Thats the only driveway we have, Long said. Its the only way to get to the back.
His neighbor, Julie Groce, said she parks on the street because she doesnt have a driveway.
I dont want to have to walk three blocks with groceries to get to my house, she said.
Hamrick said the parks are not intended to become big attractions.
Groce, whose son walks to Mount De Sales Academy, also said traffic is too fast in the area and suggested that raised crosswalks may help slow drivers.
It is very fast traffic for what should be a quiet neighborhood that takes a lot of traffic, Groce said.
Hamrick said there will be a two-week comment period for the public to give additional input. People can leave comments in person at the Parks & Recreation office in Central City Park or email email@example.com.
Proposed street closures will be presented to traffic engineers, and Hamrick hopes a master plan can be completed by late November.
Though the funds are not in place now, Hamrick said there are plans to seek funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation as well as the Community Foundation of Central Georgia.
When work will begin and who will do it have yet to be decided.
To contact writer Laura Corley, call 744-4331.