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Background
Did you know that Piedmont Park has never been finished?

Of its 185 total acres only about 130 are open and accessible to the public today. Approximately 30 acres are occupied by the Atlanta Botanical Garden (parcel in blue on the map) and another 25 or so remain undeveloped and largely inaccessible (parcel in pink on the map). Additionally, nearly 25 acres of adjacent land (parcels in green on the map), referred to as the West Property and Halpern Property, were committed by the City of Atlanta in the mid-1990’s to become park land.

All in all, there are about 50 acres available for reclamation as park land, an unprecedented opportunity for Atlanta!

In recent years, Piedmont Park Conservancy has been hard at work raising more than $22 million to restore the used areas of the park, including Oak Hill, the Meadow, Lake Clara Meer and the Active Oval. These multi-million dollar restoration projects, along with the Conservancy’s daily maintenance care, have made Piedmont Park cleaner, greener and more beautiful than ever before. In fall 2003, with much of the existing park restored, the Conservancy turned its attention to the opportunity to reclaim park land and increase the size of Piedmont Park by more than 40%.

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The Land
Because these 50 acres were never developed or maintained as park land by the City, the area is largely an environmental disaster—plagued by overgrowth, contamination, debris and inappropriate behaviors that pose safety risks.



Despite the current degradation, one can also see that the land also holds great promise, with portions containing unique topography not found in other areas of Piedmont Park, including granite outcroppings and a natural creek.



This land will someday offer park-goers an entirely new outdoor experience right in the heart of our city, but it will take years of hard work and millions of dollars to make it happen. Fortunately for Atlantans, the Conservancy has committed to leading the community planning process and multi-million fundraising campaigns that an endeavor of this magnitude requires.

With City of Atlanta’s struggle to provide funding for even basic maintenance (did you know the Conservancy now provides 85% of park maintenance?), it’s not farfetched to conclude that this land might lie fallow indefinitely were it not for the Conservancy. But because of this public-private partnership, not only do Atlantans have a beautiful park to enjoy today, but also the possibility of enjoying 50 additional acres of green space in the years to come.

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Community Planning and Master Plan Approval
A planning grant from the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation has enabled Piedmont Park Conservancy to facilitate discussion and study of the many issues surrounding North Woods reclamation.

The long list of issues examined during the planning process includes pathways, land use, access, parking, playgrounds, storm water management, Beltline and passenger rail transit proposals, relocation of the city park maintenance facility, and sewage treatment impact. Key areas of focus include cleaning and reclaiming a polluted creek, restoring the forest and accommodating the often conflicting requests of park users.

The Conservancy is committed to facilitating a comprehensive and inclusive community planning process to aid responsible decision making. View a list of previous meetings and tours held to-date.

Phase 1: Strategic Issues and Recommendations (COMPLETE)–The “Stakeholder Committee” consisted of representatives drawn from adjacent neighborhoods, park user groups and organizations, appropriate City of Atlanta Departments and Bureaus and Piedmont Park Conservancy. This group was tasked with identifying broad issues/challenges/concerns/strategies for planning and completed its work in January 2004. It identified six strategic principles to guide the next phase of planning.
Phase 2: Master Planning (COMPLETE)–The citizen
Advisory Committee” is an expanded group representing park constituencies, such as bicyclists, parents, people with disabilities, dog owners, neighborhood representatives, etc., who are charged with examining the many issues and ideas to make recommendations to Piedmont Park Conservancy in order to develop a North Woods Master Plan. The Committee's Manual of Reference Materials (published October 1, 2003) is available for download on the Advisory Committee page. The The Advisory Committee began its work in March 2004 and issued its recommendations to Piedmont Park Conservancy in November 2004.
Phase 3: Design and Cost Estimates (COMPLETE)–Based on the committee’s recommendations, design firm Tunnell, Spangler & Walsh developed design schematics and outlined project costs in order to guide Piedmont Park Conservancy’s next capital fundraising campaign.
Approval: (COMPLETED)–After two years of hard work and planning, presenting to 19 NPU's and the Urban Design Commission, the new master plan to expand Piedmont Park by 53 acres was approved by a City Council vote of 13 to 2! 

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Traffic Study
Day Wilburn Associates, Inc. concluded a study to project the traffic effects of the proposed shared parking garage. Read the executive summary.

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Subcommittee Reports
The Access Subcommittee is conducting research on ways to improve/increase access, including parking (perimeter and/or garage), public transit, including the Beltline, shuttles and MARTA. Read the Access Subcommittee Report presented at the August 18th Advisory Committee meeting.

The Pool Subcommittee considered the pros and cons of restoring the current pool and bathhouse in the park vs. a community natatorium at another location. Read the Pool Subcommittee Report presented at the August 18th Advisory Committee meeting.

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The Plan
Over the last year, the Citizen Advisory Committee, comprised of representatives from the park’s various constituencies, has been studying the many issues and options related to restoring 50 acres of land lying fallow in and adjacent to Piedmont Park.

The committee issued its recommendations to Piedmont Park Conservancy in November 2004, with the majority of representatives favoring version A1, a 53-acre expansion plan that includes a shared parking facility with the Atlanta Botanical Garden (ABG), to version B1, a 50-acre plan that retains current asphalt parking lots. In exchange for the one acre hillside for the parking facility, ABG will return 3.3 acres of the Storza Woods back to public park land, offering park-goers a unique forested experience and also enabling new park entrances at Piedmont Avenue at Westminster Drive.

The plan calls for 53 new acres of open green space, bicycle and walking trails, formal and community gardens, an interactive water feature, children’s playgrounds, a skate park, athletic fields and woodlands.

Download a map (1.1MB JPEG) of the North Woods Master Plan. Download a draft of the North Woods Master Plan document (5.5MB PDF).

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Addressing Safety & Access
In addition to recommendations on land use and new amenities, representatives also examined current access and safety issues during the planning process. As a result, the plan recommends the following:

Returning the heart of the park back to green space by removing the current 1.6 acre asphalt surface parking lot to create a safe and unbroken “greensward” connecting historic Piedmont Park with the expansion area.
Closing the Park Drive entrance to vehicular traffic, making it pedestrian-only in order to eliminate the dangerous interface between cars and pedestrians on the shared roadway between the bridge and the current parking lot inside the park.
Consolidating and camouflaging parking for park-goers and Garden visitors into a shared parking facility.
Built mostly underground and into an unused, steep slope between the Park and the Garden, the facility will be built to LEED principles and would provide nearly three times the parking spaces, but in less than half the footprint (one acre).
The facility would be screened with a 16’ high berm, 25’ trees, and extensive trees and greenery to be 80% camouflaged on opening day.
ABG has pledged to fund and maintain the facility, yet share half of the spaces with park-goers and half the proceeds to help fund park maintenance.
A new entryway, utilizing the variance in topography and a unique pathway/circulation system, completely separates cars and pedestrians throughout the entire park for the first time.

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Latest Update/Next Steps
At the Atlanta City Council meeting on November 21st, 2005, the new master plan to expand Piedmont Park by 53 acres was approved by a City Council vote of 13 to 2.  Now Piedmont Park Conservancy is moving forward with an aggressive plan to raise the needed funds to make this gift to Atlanta a reality.

Questions? Send an email to info@piedmontpark.com.

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Download a draft of
the North Woods
Master Plan 1.31.2005
(5.5MB PDF).



Illustrations
Each illustration contains
a map legend number
to help you locate the
view on the Master Plan.













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