By Amy Wenk
amywenk@reporternewspapers.net

The Howard Property, at the corner of Collier Road and Overbrook Drive in Buckhead, is soon to undergo a transformation.

At the Oct. 7 meeting of Neighborhood Planning Unit C, Pat Katz, the principal landscape architect with the city’s park design office, introduced the master landscaping plan for the property.

The Howard Property is a 5-acre site the city bought next to Tanyard Creek. Katz said next month she will present the initial plan to NPU-C for review, and the group will vote on it in December.

Katharine Montgomery, the president of the Collier Hills Civic Association, also attended the meeting to seek approval for the application of a Park Pride community grant for the Howard Property.

Park Pride, a nonprofit organization founded in 1989, assists communities with matching grants of $20,000 to $50,000 for park improvement projects. The Robert W. Woodruff Foundation finances the program.

The Collier Hills and Collier Hills North civic associations, as well as the Cherokee Garden Club, have worked to obtain the grant to assist with the funding of such items as gazebos, swings and pavilions. The city’s master landscaping plan does not include funding for those improvements.

“The grant opportunity came up at the right time,” Montgomery said. “It allows the neighborhood to partner with the parks department and be engaged in raising funds to make the master plan possible.”

NPU-C approved the neighborhood’s request to submit the grant, which would pay for half of the $51,000 project. The final plan must be submitted by Oct. 24. The associations will find out Nov. 7 whether they will receive the grant.

The groups will have 18 months to complete the project if they get the grant. Another requirement is that the neighborhood has to raise $5,000 in cash. Montgomery said fundraising plans are in the works. The rest of the money can come from other sources, including private donations.

The Howard Property was the home of the late Jim and Louise Howard, who acquired the land in 1963.

“Both of my folks were from small towns,” son Jim Howard said. His dad was from Cochran, and his mom was from Brownsville, “so they both always enjoyed that property because it was sort of an oasis in the city.”

Out of concern the property would be developed into a subdivision, the Howard family decided to donate the tract to the Trust for Public Land. The city acquired the property about two years ago because it is the connecting parcel between Tanyard Creek Park and the Bobby Jones Golf Course. The plan is for Atlanta BeltLine and the PATH Foundation to build a trail through the land.

“I’m excited that long term that it will stay perpetual green space,” Howard said. “Hopefully 50 years from now I can walk around with grandkids and have fond memories of that area and growing up.”

Although the legislation is awaiting City Council approval, the park is set to be named after Louise Howard.

The public is invited to hear the master landscaping plan for the Howard Property at the regular meeting of NPU-C on Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. The vote on the plan will occur at the Dec. 2 meeting.