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A New Vision for Heritage Park and the Chattahoochee Promenade

The project involves the city-owned property at the Chattahoochee Promenade – located along the riverbank from roughly 7th Street to 5th Street and Heritage Park – located at 703 Broadway and now property of Historic Columbus.  

 

What is Heritage Park? Heritage Park was completed in 1999 to celebrate the industrial history of the Chattahoochee Valley. The park's development was funded by Historic Columbus (HCF), private foundations, and individual donor families.  Over $2.2 million was raised. At its completion, Heritage Park was deeded to the Columbus Consolidated Government. By 2016, the large water feature was no longer functioning.  Historic Columbus worked with the Parks and Rec staff to obtain estimates – at first, it was thought about $80,000 would be able to properly repair the pumps but further investigation from professionals made us all realize that a total redesign and new pump system would be needed with a cost of about $250 to 300,000.  Parks and Rec also attempted to secure funds through the city's regular budgeting process over the course of a few years but was ultimately unsuccessful.  

 

In further discussion, the main concern expressed by both Historic Columbus and city administrative staff was future maintenance. The fear and probable reality would be that we will end back up in this same situation every three to five years looking once again at another significant investment in the water feature.  So, the question became – while replacing the entire pump system and fixing the design issues would be the simplest solution, would it be the best one?

 

Beginning in 2021, Historic Columbus developed an alternative solution for Heritage Park while recognizing HCF’s obligation to the original park donors, its membership, the neighborhood, and the community. This alternative includes not only revisioning the Heritage Park site, but also the nearby Chattahoochee Promenade (across Front Avenue and south of the Coca-Cola Space Science Center) and includes an exciting new proposal for how the community shares its history within the public realm. 

The development of an alternative solution included an $18,000 investment in a partnership between HCF and Natural Resource Consulting, Inc. to conduct a Tree Survey and with Hecht Burdeshaw Visioning Plan for Heritage Park and the Chattahoochee Promenade. You can review the results of the Tree Survey here.

In August 2022, City Council unanimously approved the transfer of the Heritage Park property to Historic Columbus to become a part of this significant revitalization project.

Current Heritage Park Site

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The overall concept of the project is to revitalize the Chattahoochee Promenade and expand the history of our city told by moving the industrial history elements from Heritage Park to the Promenade and creating the new Swift History Trail, return the Heritage Park property to residential use, and save five endangered historic structures (including the historic house currently located on the Promenade).  Once moved, Historic Columbus’ commitment for the five houses would then be to stabilize them with new foundations, new roofs, and restored exteriors.  The houses would then be transferred to the W.C. Bradley Co. to complete the renovations and sell them as single-family homes in a profit – sharing arrangement with Historic Columbus.

 

Heritage Park continues through the design and planning phase, soon moving to the final pricing and construction phase.  The five houses that will be moved to the site will range in size from 1,200SF to nearly 4,000SF.  Historic Columbus will move the structures on site, take them through a stabilization process including new roofs and foundations and then turn the properties over to the W.C. Bradley Co. who will facilitate hiring a residential contractor to finish and sell the homes.  The anticipated completion of the houses will likely be late 2023 or early 2024.  

 

 Historic Columbus will be funding the entire project with cash we have on hand in the range of between $2.5 to $3 million.  These funds include $1 million donation from Clifford and Bobsie Swift for the project, along with other fundraising as necessary.

 

Historic Columbus is also committed to establishing a Maintenance Agreement with the City for the future of the Promenade, as well as HCF establishing a Maintenance Fund to provide for the responsibilities HCF would incur within the agreement. We would provide for the future maintenance of the newly installed hardscape at the Promenade which would include all of the educational elements, the signage, the gazebos, log cabin, and the History Trail.  So, we are not asking the city to incur any new expenses.

 

I am also excited to let you know that we have received two grants for the project.  The first is a $25,000 2023 Community Impact Grant on behalf of the Board of Trustees of Community Foundation.  The grant was made from the following unrestricted Funds that enable CFCV to help meet the needs of the Chattahoochee Valley: The Chattahoochee Valley Fair Fund and The Community Endowment Fund and its named sub-funds: The Fred and Catalina Aranas Family Fund, The Susan and Butch Cochran Family Fund, and The Moselle W. and H. Quigg Fletcher, Jr., Endowment Fund.  We have also received $20,000 Cultural Arts Alliance Fast Track Grant!

How the Community Benefits from this Project

Historic Columbus put together a public survey to solicit information from the neighborhood and the community at the Public Meeting.  HCF wants more information about how the public and neighborhood currently use the Promenade and how they would like to use it in the future. This information will help solidify the final vision.

 

This is an exciting opportunity to provide a new attraction for the neighborhood, community at large, and tourists through a re-imagined public space that is more engaging and more inclusive.  A revitalized Chattahoochee Promenade will include a new history trail telling more of our community’s history (including Native American and African American history), new signage, and the elements from Heritage Park that tell the story of our industrial history.  

Heritage Park Parcel Layout

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Current Heritage Park

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Heritage Park and Chattahoochee Promenade Parcels 

Layout of 5 Homes on HP Site

Homes Relocating Heritage Park

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JUNIPER HOUSE, C. 1880

PROMENADE HOUSE, C. 1880

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MOYE HOUSE, C. 1840

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BRYAN HOUSE, C. 1830

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RAWSON HOUSE, C. 1840

Chattahoochee Promenade Revitalization Renderings

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Before & After Renderings

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Current Promenade View

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Current Promenade View

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Rendering of Same View

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Rendering of Same View

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