Osborne Park would be largely untouched as a nature preserve in a city master concept plan presented May 22 at neighboring Lynwood Park. Residents expressed some concerns about attracting more visitors and disturbing wildlife.
The 10-acre Osborne Park is a wooded area, also including an old quarry, across Devine Circle from Lynwood, accessible from the dead-end of Osborne Road. At the meeting, Liz Cole and Tom Hargrett from GreenbergFarrow, the design firm creating master plans for all city parks, explained the nature preserve vision.
“We’re going to preserve the trees,” said Cole. “We’re not going to do any clearing or add any trails.”
“Our vision is to protect and preserve and allow people to visit the ecosystem so they can understand the planned environment that is out here in a responsible manner,” said Cole. “Some of the tree species that are out here are phenomenal, in terms of their size.”
The only part of the park that would be altered is a slab of asphalt currently submerged in kudzu. Hargrett proposed replacing it with three green areas that include an outdoor classroom, pavilions and a garden with native shrubs.
The proposal includes a raised boardwalk through the tree canopy to the quarry, where people could rock-climb.
For educational programs, Cole suggested a partnership with the outdoor gear company REI, which teaches classes such as navigating a GPS or how to pack a backpack, and being able to apply what is learned in the woods.
Osborne Park’s land has never been developed and it has many older trees.
“There aren’t many spaces left like that [in metro Atlanta], and it has an extraordinary native plant community,” said Kathryn Kolb, director of the environmental organization EcoAddendum.
Ryan Bergamini, a resident of Mill Creek Road adjacent to the park, expressed concern about increased visitors. He worried about people wandering from the paths and perhaps committing crimes or disrupting neighbors’ privacy.
Bergamini said people mistake his home as the Lynwood Park Recreational Center on a regular basis. He suggested some type of “natural barrier,” such as rocks, to “prevent nefarious type of people from coming through here.”
“You’re almost going to invite the public into our front yard,” Bergamini said.
Members of his family also commented about disrupting the wildlife that comes through the relatively untouched area, saying that they frequently see deer and blue herons.
Another resident proposed that dogs not be allowed in the park to protect the wildlife.
The plan is only in the preliminary draft stage. There is no estimated timeline or budget. Brian Borden, the director of Parks and Recreation, said he hopes to see this project funded in 2018.