Historic park receives renovation
In July, Atlanta and the Piedmont Park Conservancy, a non-profit group charged with maintaining Piedmont Park, completed a renovation of the park’s Oak Hill area. Now, the 24-acre area has more trees and pathways and is accessible to disabled visitors.
Piedmont Park attracts more than two million visitors a year, making it one of the most heavily used parks in the Southeast. The 185-acre park also has historical value; it served as the midway for the Cotton States and International Exposition of 1895. But, after years of heavy use, the park needed a facelift.
In 1997, the conservancy consulted with the local division of New York-based HOK Planning Group for three improvement projects, one of which addressed the Oak Hill area. The hill had eroded and was considered inaccessible, especially to the disabled.
The firm developed a plan for a massive topographic restoration of the hill. The plan called for the implementation of an English landscape style, which consists of rolling terrain and scattered trees; the construction of more than a mile of granite edged paths; as well as the installation of an in-ground irrigation system and a storm drainage system to reduce surface erosion.
The Parks and Recreation Department contracted with locally based Site Engineering to complete the $2 million project, which took about a year to finish. More than 180 new trees were planted during the rehabilitation, and existing trees were not disturbed. In addition, features such as water fountains, park benches and light posts were installed.
Besides those improvements, Oak Hill now includes pedestrian paths that are accessible for disabled persons. It also features an overlook and a natural amphitheater, which will host events such as symphony concerts and the Montreaux Jazz Festival.