Knight Neighborhood Challenge info at the Community Foundation of Central Georgia
Knight Neighborhood Challenge info at CollegeHillMacon.com
MACON – Tattnall Square Park, one of Macon’s most historic green spaces and one of the oldest city parks in America, is receiving over 160 new trees on Wednesday, Nov. 28. The trees are being purchased and installed as part of a $32,950 Knight Neighborhood Challenge grant from the Community Foundation of Central Georgia and John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and led by the all-volunteer Friends of Tattnall Square Park community organization.
This also coordinates with the unveiling of an extensive pavilion landscaping makeover, the product of a $15,000 Knight Neighborhood Challenge grant designed by Atlanta Landscape Architect Bill Murphy.
The new trees’ arrival and installation will begin with a ceremonial tree planting at 11 a.m. featuring city and county officials and Mercer University President William D. Underwood. They will be joined by local school children from Alexander II Magnet School and additional community advocates. There will also be live music by Anna Mae Kersey, a poetry reading by Anya Silver, Ph.D., and picnicking is encouraged following the ceremony.
According to Andrew Silver, Ph.D, chair of Friends of Tattnall Square Park, the last time a tree planting of this size took place in the park was between 1915-1918 and came about through the efforts of the Tattnall Square Improvement Association, headed by Mercer’s Acting President, J.F. Sellers. It now yields the most mature trees in the park.
Tuesday’s tree planting will include 163 trees and 52 different species and cultivars. The majority of the trees are native to Georgia and were selected with guidance from members of the Macon Tree Commission, Bibb County Parks and Recreation, Macon State College’s Waddell Barnes Botanical Gardens, the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, the Georgia Forestry Commission, Piedmont Park Conservancy, Central Park Conservancy and more.
Among Tattnall Park’s newest nature features will be a paw-paw patch, a native blossom ring, a magnolia walk, a native upland grove, six ginkgoes and five tulip poplars, one of the tallest native trees east of the Mississippi River.
“We’re going to have incredible fall color, and we’re going to have a wonderful spring display. We’re also going to have something blooming just about every month of the year,” said Silver. “This is going to be a colorful, creative and innovative park.”
Funding for the entire project was made possible by the Knight Neighborhood Challenge grant and an additional $7,500 from Mercer University for irrigation. The Friends of Tattnall Square Park also received donations and discounts from local businesses, as well as assistance from Bibb County Parks and Recreation on installation and further maintenance.
The Friends of Tattnall Park organization was formed in December 2011 by local residents Corrie Merricks, Jill Vanderhoek and Silver. Their first meeting was held on the 98th anniversary of the founding of the Tattnall Square Improvement Association. Over 800 volunteer hours have since been invested in painting the park’s pavilion, removing dead trees, mulching the playground, planting an initial 12 trees, re-designing the pavilion, having nets installed on the soccer goals, creating a “stump circle,” and removing old, dilapidated gates at the Lawton Street entrance, among other clean-up projects.
“We have seen so many visible changes in Macon as a result of the College Hill Corridor initiative, but one of my favorites is the development of a new tier of civic leaders. A recent example of this is the new group called the Friends of Tattnall Square Park. They are simply a group of local residents who care about Tattnall Square Park,” said the Community Foundation of Central Georgia’s Director of Donor Services Julia Wood. “They are taking ideas from the park’s master plan and putting them into action. This planting of indigenous trees is the largest addition to the tree canopy in Tattnall Square Park in nearly 100 years, and our community will benefit from it for decades to come.”
Tattnall Square Park is among the key areas marked for improvement in the College Hill Corridor Master Plan. In addition to the Friends of Tattnall Park’s landscape and clean-up improvements, the park is slated for a major streetscape project along College Street that being funded by a Georgia Department of Transportation grant.
For more information on the College Hill Corridor improvements and efforts, as well as this current project, please visit collegehillmacon.com or contact Jessica Walden at the College Hill Alliance: 478.301.2014 / firstname.lastname@example.org.
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