Two design options have been revealed for a new city park on Buckhead’s Loridans Drive.

On Sept. 11, the nonprofit Park Pride showed two alternative design concepts to about 20 residents at a meeting at St. James United Methodist Church on Peachtree-Dunwoody Road.

Concept 1 for the Loridans Drive park design. (Park Pride)

As part of their Park Visioning project for the potential Loridans Drive park, members of the Park Pride team went over a series of concepts they envisioned including within the proposed park. Feedback was gathered from residents of the neighboring area as to which of two designs were preferred. An Oct. 2 meeting will follow up with a final conceptual design.

The 1.5-acre park site is nestled next to the Loridans Drive bridge over Ga. 400, just south of the Sandy Springs border, and is planned to connect to the 5.2-mile PATH400 multiuse trail.

The city owns the property, but does not fund the design or construction of such neighborhood parks. Instead, residents are expected to come up with a vision and form a nonprofit to hire someone to design and build it, often in stages. Park Pride specializes in leading the process.

The designs were similar, with trails, greenery and protection for a historic cemetery. There was no obvious preference for either design among the meeting attendees.

Both park designs included a number of amenities that could be potentially added to the final concept plan. Amenities featured in both versions of the design included additions meant to beautify the sound wall that runs between Ga. 400 and the park, as well as nature trails that would wind throughout certain areas.

Amenities included in the design that were specific to Concept 1 were an entrance plaza at a park corner, a sculptural play area for children and a boulder-lined rain garden.

Concept 2 of the proposed park had specific amenities such as a direct entrance to the park from Loridans Drive, a woodland seating ring and a mountain bike training course.

Attendees of the meeting filled out sheets detailing which overall concept they preferred as well as the individual amenities they wanted to be included in the final concept plan.

Concept 2 for the Loridans Drive park design. (Park Pride)

Park Pride also had a specific vision for the eventual look of a cemetery that is contained within the space of the proposed park. Aspects of the vision included opening up the woodland area that surrounds it and planting a variety of native wildflowers and understory plants, such as woodland phlox.

“I think if you came to one of those edges, the observation edges, and looked down over that. I think there would be just a really emotional response to that,” said Teri Nye, a visioning coordinator for Park Pride. “… I think it could be something that could be a place for contemplation.”

Community members who attended the meeting showed interest in many of the concepts included in the two preliminary designs proposed by Park Pride, expressing optimism that the community would be able to gather the funds necessary to complete the park.

Despite the overall enthusiasm of the group, there were some at the meeting who wondered if neighbors of the proposed park space could possibly become victims of crime or lose privacy as a result of the added public attention the park would draw.

“There are people here who are super excited about this, but those of us who back up to the property definitely have a lot more concerns than others,” said one resident. “Thus far through this process, the neighborhood has been very respectful of us and our concerns.”

The next step in the Park Visioning process is a meeting on Oct. 2 at 6:30 p.m. at St. James, where the final concept plan will be presented. Both current park concept plans will be published on the Park Pride website at parkpride.org.

–Alec Larson

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