Community meetings being held for feedback on Forsyth Park Master Plan designs

Community meetings being held for feedback on Forsyth Park Master Plan designs

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The Friends of Forsyth and the city of Savannah are asking for feedback from the community on the future of Forsyth Park.

The Friends of Forsyth group currently has a survey on its website for the public to choose which design and amenities they would like to see used in the upgrade and remodeling of the park.

The final two designs come from input from over 2,000 Savannahians from an earlier survey. Their main focus is to preserve the natural beauty of the park while relieving tensions between pedestrians and wheeled vehicles.

Each design includes a splash pad and playground for kids, updated athletic courts, and adds public art and restrooms.

Several public forums are being held virtually throughout April over Zoom for community feedback. The current meeting schedule is as follows:

  • Monday, April 12, at 6 p.m. with Alderman Palumbo, District 4
  • Wednesday, April 14, at 6:30 p.m. with Alderman Purtee, District 6
  • Monday, April 19, at 6:30 p.m. with Alderwoman Wilder-Bryan, District 3
  • Wednesday, April 21, at 6:30 p.m. with Alderman Leggett, District 2
  • Wednesday, April 28, at 6:30 p.m. with Alderwoman Shabazz, District 5

The Zoom link for all meetings is https://zoom.us/j/4342148253.

Additional meeting dates and times will be available at FriendsofForsyth.org as they are scheduled. The survey can also be filled out online here by April 30, or in-person at the park on April 10, 17, or 24.

The deadline to comment is April 30.

First meeting

The Friends of Forsyth and City of Savannah held their first of several community meetings Monday, April 12.

“For over 150 years, since the park has existed this is the first opportunity that we really asked the public how should the park carry into the future,” said Alderman Nick Palumbo.

The virtual community-wide meetings are being hosted by members of city council representing all nine districts.

“The master plan includes a topographical survey, a tree survey, lighting and maintenance plan, a preservation inventory and a timeline of the history of the park. None of which existed prior to the start of this effort,” said Meb Ryan, Trustees’ Garden Club.

“The drawings are meant to solicit your feedback and to prompt ideas and discussion on how to improve the park,” said Charlotte Barrows with Nelson Byrd Woltz.

Nelson Byrd Woltz is the lead architect on the project. They’ve come up with two designs based on a collection of ideas. Alderman Nick Palumbo says this plan isn’t to disrupt the history that is already there, but rather to preserve it.

“We are simply loving our park to death. We’ve got to find ways to preserve the tree canopy the things that we love about it for the next generation and if we’re not willing to be ambitious those things may dwindle and die,” said Palumbo.

A representative from the architect company says one part of the design includes moving the playgrounds and turning it into a civic gathering space.

“There’s nothing wrong with the playgrounds themselves, but they are located in an incredibly important location between the dummy forts, which is a threshold between the historic northern part of the park and the rest of the park,” said Barrows.

But the plan also aims to fix issues the park commonly has.

“They have drainage issues and grating issues and the master plan is here to address these issues,” said Barrows.

The designs also include safety elements like creating bike lanes, improving lighting and redoing the pavement.

“A master plan is the best way to restore the park into its next 50 years,” said Ryan.

The Forsyth Park Master Plan project is expected to move into the final design phase this summer.

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