Art has a big role in the design concept for the new Old Ivy Park along PATH400, revealed by Livable Buckhead and the city of Atlanta at an Aug. 22 meeting at the Sarah Smith Elementary School Intermediate Campus gym.

“We are envisioning a space that creates place,” said city urban planner Daniel Calvert of the design concept for the 0.7-acre park at 519 Old Ivy near Ga. 400.

A conceptual sketch of the future Old Ivy Park presented at the Aug. 22 public meeting. (Perez Planning and Design/Livable Buckhead)

The concept, drawn up by Carlos Perez of Perez Planning and Design, includes some standard features, such as a lawn area for public gatherings. But it also includes some unusual art features, including colorful ovals painted on the roadway to slow traffic, and artworks that children and adults can climb on or interact with as in the Playable Art Park in Sandy Springs.

One side of the park is quite steep, which Perez used as an opportunity to create terraced seating, as well as a ramp for wheelchair accessibility.

A big concern for the community was traffic flow down the hills of Old Ivy Road. Perez said traffic could be calmed by adding something that captures drivers’ attention and makes them slow down out of curiosity. The on-street painted art was his idea for achieving that.

The park concept extends down the street beneath a Ga. 400 overpass, where street lights and exercise equipment for children and adults could be installed, along with on-street parking.

An “iconic” pavilion with unusual architecture is another idea. The event and lawn area would have colorful, movable tables and chairs. Besides the main park, stormwater capture facilities across the street could be remade as a “stormwater park” with trails and informational signs.

The conceptual design plan for the future Old Ivy Park, with the main park at left, the “stormwater park” at center,” and the Ga. 400 underpass area at right along with photos showing what its exercise equipment idea might be like. The yellow ovals on the roadway are suggested public art. (Perez Planning and Design/Livable Buckhead)

The Old Ivy Park idea came out of Livable Buckhead’s planning for the PATH400 multiuse trail, which now runs through the area. To make a safer, curving intersection of the trail and Old Ivy Road, Livable Buckhead bought a house at 519 Old Ivy, now demolished, and sold the land to the city as a park.

“PATH400 is basically the spine of the Buckhead community, combining our future green spaces,” said Livable Buckhead Executive Director Denise Starling. “It’s all about getting people around and connecting commerce to community.”

Starling said Buckhead needs more parks to create a sense of place and identity in the area. Under the “Buckhead Collection” parks plan advocated by City Councilmember Howard Shook and others, the city aims to add 106 acres of parks to the neighborhood. In the past three years, about 40 acres have been added, including the Old Ivy property, according to Starling.

Since last year, a steering committee has worked on the Old Ivy Park design concept. Starling said in an email that she hopes to have a final design and construction cost estimate by around mid-October. Meanwhile, Livable Buckhead has posted the design concepts on its website and is accepting online public comments there through Sept. 9.

–Grace Huseth