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Preserving Atlanta Memorial Park Could Cost $15M

The Atlanta Memorial Park Conservancy will present its draft master plan on Thursday for the Bobby Jones Golf Course, Bitsy Grant Tennis Center, the creeks and passive parts of the park.

Atlanta Memorial Park. Credit: Hunt Archbold
Atlanta Memorial Park. Credit: Hunt Archbold

A draft master plan on how to preserve and improve Atlanta Memorial Park will be presented Thursday, Jan. 16 at the Bobby Jones Clubhouse.

The Atlanta Memorial Park Conservancy will make the presentation from 6-8 p.m.

The project includes all parts of the park, including: the historically oriented green space, Bobby Jones Golf Course and Bitsy Grant Tennis Center.

Collin Kelly of Neighbor Newspapers reported completing the master plan would take 10 years and cost from $10-15 million, with an overhaul of Bobby Jones Golf Course being the most significant part of the plan.

Rebuilding Bobby Jones Golf Course

Bob Cupp, an internationally acclaimed golf course designer, provided his services pro bono to study the course and make recommendations concerning its future. He recommended that the course be entirely rebuilt. He also recommended that the Conservancy and the City consider including practice and training facilities to engage the broader community in the game of golf.

Following these recommendations, the Conservancy is proposing two options for consideration: a new 18-hole course, rerouted to make optimal use of the limited space available for this course, or a new "reversible" 9-hole course with a driving range. Renovation costs for either design are expected to be approximately the same.

Tennis Center Would Add Parking, Courts

At the Bitsy Grant Tennis Center, Kelly reported that a below-grade parking deck would be installed with room for 400 cars and its rooftop would have space for six additional tennis courts. 

Creek Restoration Required

But before any of this could be done, restoration of Peachtree and Tanyard creeks would be required. These two creeks have a drainage basin that serves 55,000 acres of land ranging from Decatur to Dunwoody. Development has increased the velocity and volume of the water running through the creeks exponentially. That has led to regular flooding of the course and neighborhoods, environmental and ecological concerns and continued erosion of the creeks’ natural streambeds.

Multiple agencies and funding sources will need to be involved, including FEMA, the EPA, Georgia and Atlanta Watershed Management, and the Army Corps of Engineers. The Georgia Conservancy and hydrology experts from Georgia Tech have expressed interest in participating.

Passive Park Needs Long-Term Plan

The Conservancy proposes engaging an arborist to undertake a tree audit and develop a long-term plan for tree reforestation and canopy restoration in the passive side of Atlanta Memorial Park. Repairs will be made to the park’s curbing and sod, as needed. Also, Conservancy volunteers will work to remove invasive species in the park.

In honor of the those injured or killed during the Battle of Peachtree Creek, the passive side of Atlanta Memorial Park remains a peaceful, natural area, suitable for walking, jogging, and the quiet contemplation and enjoyment of nature.

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