Plans to revamp downtown Macon’s Triple Triangle parks at a standstill

lcorley@macon.comJuly 15, 2014 

Plans to revamp three parks in downtown Macon are at a standstill.

The Macon-Bibb County Parks and Recreation Department is collaborating with the Jay’s Hope Foundation and the Ronald McDonald House to bring amenities and improve the aesthetics of the parks.

The three spaces -- Daisy, High Street and Tower -- are collectively known as Triple Triangle Parks.

After receiving $40,000 for a splash pad for Daisy Park, Jay’s Hope approached Parks and Recreation with the idea of revamping all three parks.

The two organizations hired Wimberly Treadwell, a local landscape architect, to create a master plan. Parks and Recreation used money from a $15,000 grant to help pay its share of the cost of hiring Treadwell, according to the department’s business service manager, Ben Hamrick.

Plans made for High Street Park include removing and repurposing the bricks on High Place to construct an amphitheater-like gathering place on the hill that is surrounded by churches and a school. A crosswalk in Tower Park, on Orange Street, would be removed to convert the area into a green space for the many neighbors who don’t have yards of their own.

The main focus of the project, though, is Daisy Park, which is on Forsyth Street and closest to The Medical Center of Central Georgia, Jay’s Hope and the Ronald McDonald House.

At a public charrette in October, several neighbors near Daisy Park expressed concerns about parking and proposed street closures. Hamrick said the potential of street closures has been mentioned to traffic engineers, but “has not been totally presented.”

Despite the $40,000 awarded to Jay’s Hope, Christie Johnson, the foundation’s community relations coordinator, said it is still $15,000 shy of its $70,000 goal.

Julie Wilkerson, development director for the Ronald McDonald House, said her organization applied for an $8,000 Knight Neighborhood Challenge grant in June after being asked by Treadwell to help out with the project.

“From the Ronald McDonald House perspective, we have a small playground behind our house for our families,” Treadwell said. But since Daisy Park is “kind of on the walking path between the house and The Medical Center and The Children’s Hospital, we thought it would be great if it really was a nice safe place for families to go,” she said.

If the Ronald McDonald House gets the Knight grant, it will use it to rebuild the basketball court, which is an old tennis court surrounded by tall and unwelcoming fences. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation will announce grant recipients on Oct. 16.

Until then, Johnson said, the project is at a standstill.

“Our portion of it (the project) will happen regardless of whether the basketball courts will come about or not,” Johnson said. “But it would be great if we knew that money was coming in so we could plan the project as a whole.”

Hamrick said if the Ronald McDonald House gets the grant, the next step will be for the parties involved to come up with a plan for how to proceed. He expects work on the parks would begin this fall, but said he doesn’t know how long the project would take to complete.

To contact writer Laura Corley, call 744-4382.

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