Work is scheduled to begin this month on a $2.5 million project intended to transform Loudermilk Park in the heart of Buckhead into a community gathering place.
Plans for the project, paid for by the Buckhead Community Improvement District, call for the construction of a clock tower, and the addition of a statue of park namesake Charlie Loudermilk, covered seating, and grass and trees to the triangular park bordered by Peachtree and Roswell roads, and Sardis Way.
“We think that park doesn’t come close to its potential,” CID Executive Director Jim Durrett said. “If you’re trying to create a walkable urban place, you need gathering places. That’s not a gathering place right now.”
Some trees will be removed to allow planting of a new perimeter of oaks to provide more shade, Buckhead CID and Livable Buckhead said in a press release. “We’re planning on razing it, scraping it and putting in something we think will attract people,” he said.
Durrett said that once the work is done, the park could become a place for wedding receptions, business mixers or other social events. “It’s a city park. We just want to create capacity for people’s imaginations to take off,” he said.
Durrett said construction could be completed by summer. “If we can get started in February, there is a really good chance, given normal weather, that we can have this finished by July,” he said.
The park redesign connects with several other projects to be launched this year in the area.
“2014 is the year of the Village,” Durrett said.
Officials of the CID, a district in which businesses are taxed to provide improvements, plan to spend more than $5 million to redo streetscapes bordering Buckhead Village in order to make the area more inviting to pedestrians, Durrett said.
At the same time, the developers of the Buckhead Atlanta project say they intend to spend $10 million on streetscape improvements within the Buckhead Village area they are developing.
OliverMcMillan CEO Dene Oliver told members of the Buckhead Business Association in January that the company would use trees and granite curbs to give the area a feeling that it had been developed over time.“The way we connect with people in an urban environment is on the streets and sidewalks,” Oliver said.
Durrett said the CID has been planning its streetscape work for years. The plans go back to before developer Ben Carter began working on the project he called “The Streets of Buckhead.” The project was taken over and renamed by OliverMcMillan.
“Our job is to make investments in the public realm to enhance the value of this place,” Durrett said.