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Legacy Decatur board approves fund for city’s bicentennial celebration

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Legacy Decatur board approves fund for city’s bicentennial celebration

The Administration Building at Legacy Park on South Columbia Drive in the city of Decatur on August 12, 2020. The park occupies the former site of the United Methodist Children’s Home. Photo by Dean Hesse.

This story has been updated.

Decatur, GA – Next year marks the city of Decatur’s 200th anniversary of its charter. In efforts to raise money for projects that honor the community, the Legacy Decatur board approved the establishment of the Decatur Bicentennial Fund during their meeting on July 28.

Legacy Decatur is the board that oversees Legacy Park, the former United Methodist Children’s Home property on South Columbia Drive.

Lyn Menne, executive director of Legacy Decatur, outlined the goals of the fund below:

– The Bicentennial Tree Project: Planting 200 trees around the city by providing front yard shade trees for local homeowners and planting memorial and celebration trees in city parks in partnership with Trees Atlanta. All trees will be identified with markers designating them as bicentennial trees and included on a digital map on the Trees Atlanta site.

– The Two Hundred Stories Project: Modeled after the StoryCorps project to record and archive 200 stories of a diverse cross-section of Decatur residents. All stories will be recorded and some will be used to create a visual record through film or animation to be shared at the community celebration event. The Savannah College of Art and Design has committed their resources and will be approaching the project as a multidisciplinary academic exercise incorporating journalism, animation, art, and documentary students, some of whom reside in the city.

– The Decatur Land Trust Future Fund: Cultivating a working capital fund in support of the organization’s long-term affordable housing efforts throughout Decatur.

– A Meaningful Capital Campaign: In support of all these endeavors, Legacy Decatur will be launching a fundraising campaign with a raise goal of $200,000.

In other business, several other project updates were given at the meeting.

The Creative Village Project is moving along smoothly. The goal is to have tenants living in the cottages by the end of the year, and that seems to be doable, Menne said.

“The way we’re going to pursue the project now is that we will take the renovation of Edwards and Trustees, which are the two that have the apartments in them that we want to go ahead and rent online,” she said.

Legacy Decatur is also working on building an inclusive playground. They recently sent out a newsletter with the design and a survey, which Menne said gave them some good and positive feedback.

“There was a 16-week delay between putting in the order and getting the equipment delivered,” Menne said. “So we’ve made the order, and we’re looking at the installation probably around the middle of November.”

The idea of playscapes and equipment designed for kids of all ages and abilities, which was originally suggested by Decatur elementary school students, ultimately emerged as a priority in the Legacy Park Master Plan after it was a popular topic of discussion during the 2018 community visioning process.

“Inclusive playgrounds, as they’re commonly known, are universally-designed, sensory-rich environments that go beyond minimum accessibility standards to create play experiences accommodating the widest possible array of physical and cognitive abilities,” the newsletter states. “They further allow adults of varying ages and abilities to actively engage with children in their care and serve as multi-generational gathering spaces for community enjoyment, socialization, healthy bodies, and imaginative fun.”

The project is being funded through a $145,000 Community Development Block Grant from DeKalb County and the city of Decatur pledged $114,000 in matching funds for a project budget of $259,000.

The plans include a poured rubber play surface for safety and easy access, and a range of play options for children — climbing equipment, slides, monkey bars, tunnels, a group swing, and a variety of sensory play stations, according to the newsletter.

Final plans are in progress and the equipment is being ordered. Legacy Decatur anticipates the equipment to be installed in November over two weeks, and opening the playground shortly after that.

Menne added “lots of things are coming together,” delivering a few updates on running projects at Legacy Park.

“The ADA bathrooms are finished in the two cottages. We have signage, just as a mock-up for you to see…and it’s incredible what’s happening in the barn. They’re getting very close to being finished,” Menne said.

Reporter Zoe Seiler contributed to this article. 

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