A new park is on the horizon in downtown Milledgeville.
“It will be a passive plaza park located in what currently is a planter out in from of The Local Yolkal (Cafe),” according to Milledgeville Interim City Manager Hank Griffeth.
In the space where the new park is planned, there once stood a large tree that was cut down about three years ago.
Such was done during the time that Griffeth served as city planner.
“I told Mr. (Barry) Jarrett back then that this sure would be a nice place [to put] a park,” recalled Griffeth, referring to the former city manager.
Some were skeptical as to whether the project would get the approval of the Georgia Department of Transportation and whether or not funding could be arranged to make it a reality.
Nevertheless, Griffeth forged ahead with the idea.
He later met with representatives with the Knight Foundation, who immediately bought into the idea.
“They paid initially for the design of it and they have put forth additional money for the completion of the park,” Griffeth told reporters following Tuesday night’s city council meeting.
The design fee alone was $15,000, he pointed out.
During this week’s city council meeting, officials unanimously approved a resolution that authorizes an agreement with the Georgia Department of Transportation for construction of the new plaza park.
The park will consist of brick pavers, as well as a ramp that will meet the guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and a tree sleeve for mounting the Christmas tree that once stood atop the old Georgia Power Company Harllee Branch Plant, which no longer stands near the Baldwin-Putnam County line. The new park also will have a sitting area and tables and be surrounded by bollards.
“The Knight Foundation actually funded money to the city through the Central Georgia Community Foundation in Macon,” Griffeth said.
Milledgeville is one of only three cities in Georgia and among only 26 nationwide with distinction as a Knight Community.
He said he believes it’s going to be a pretty cool area to have a park.
“It’s going to be right there on our most active block in downtown,” Griffeth said. “We’re real excited about it.”
Griffeth said as a second piece, when he approached representatives of the Knight Foundation about the idea, designing another one was also discussed.
“So, at that same time, they funded us money to do design for greenspace at the pavilion on Hancock Street,” Griffeth said. “We hope we can encourage the Knight Foundation next year to fund that project.”