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Legacy Decatur looking to create a parking, circulation plan for Legacy Park

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Legacy Decatur looking to create a parking, circulation plan for Legacy Park

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.

Decatur, GA — Legacy Decatur is looking to create a circulation and parking plan for Legacy Park. The Legacy Decatur board, at its Aug. 10 meeting, approved a resolution authorizing the nonprofit staff to present the contract with Atkins to the Decatur City Commission for approval.

Legacy Decatur is the organization that oversees Legacy Park, which was formerly the United Methodist Children’s Home. Legacy Park is located on South Columbia Drive in Decatur.

The nonprofit met with Decatur public works staff and Atkins, the city’s on-call engineer, to discuss establishing a circulation and parking plan for the park for a contracted amount of $61,535, according to the agenda.

“This came out of our board retreat discussion about [how] we’re seeing a lot more increased activity [and] we need to have a plan for parking and circulation, especially as we have more events and as the track comes,” Legacy Decatur Executive Director Madeleine Henner said.

Legacy Decatur staff had considered re-striping the existing parking at the park, but the city’s public works staff said the asphalt at Legacy Park is in poor condition right now.

“When Legacy Park hosts large events and festivals, the lack of a clear parking policy leads to confusion, traffic hazards, blocked emergency lanes, and cars parked on the grass,” Henner wrote in a memo. “Legacy Decatur staff hoped that a simple restriping of approved parking areas could remedy the issue. However, staff were advised against restriping the current cracked asphalt. The incoming community and competition track as well as increased venue rentals will attract more people and more cars to the already fragile asphalt drive.”

She added that Legacy Decatur does not plan to add additional paving parking areas outside what is illustrated in the Legacy Park Master Plan.

“However, it is possible that a more efficient use of the park’s circular driveways could allow for parallel parking on existing paved areas, significantly increasing parking capacity,” Henner said.

Throughout the planning process, Legacy Decatur will be holding at least two public input meetings on the parking and circulation at the park.

In other business:

– The board authorized the executive committee to review and approve a lease agreement with Refugee Women’s Network to use the commercial kitchen in the administration building.

In the initial letter of intent in 2021, Williams Cottage and the commercial kitchen were listed as spaces that RWN intended to lease. At the time, RWN decided to focus on their offices in Williams until they built that staff capacity and resources. They’ve come back to Legacy Decatur this year and are ready to move forward with the commercial kitchen project, Henner previously said.

Refugee Women’s Network is a nonprofit organization founded by refugee and immigrant women about 25 years ago. The nonprofit is based at Legacy Park.

“The mission of our organization is to inspire and equip refugee and immigrant women to become leaders in their homes, businesses, and communities in Georgia and beyond through innovative programming…,” Sushma Barakoti, executive director of RWN, previously said.

As part of RWN’s economic empowerment programs, it has a program called chef’s club. The program provides technical training, helps with licensing, assists with business planning, and connects entrepreneurs with mentors. Legacy Decatur will be responsible for making some capital improvements to the kitchen to get it ready to be used.

“That’ll include making that back entryway…ADA accessible and usable as a dock space. It will include upgrading any plumbing or electric that needs to happen, inspecting the grease traps, so it meets the code…moving the sink and our ice machine and having the necessary plumbing in our first kitchen, putting an emergency fire door exit between the commercial kitchen space and the warming kitchen space,” Henner said. “The primary entry and exit is the exterior for the Refugee Women’s Network and chef’s club, but should there be an emergency, they can safely exit the building.”

Legacy Decatur would also add an ADA accessible bathroom. This work is expected to take about two months to finish.

RWN will also do some painting and cleaning of the space and equip the kitchen. RWN anticipates it will take them about six weeks to do their work and get the program up and running in the kitchen.

The Public Facilities Authority fund has identified $80,000 for the commercial kitchen repairs. The Decatur City Commission, at its July 17 regular meeting, approved a contract with CGS, LLC in the amount of $57,850 and established a project budget of $80,000 to upgrade the commercial kitchen in Hawkins Hall at Legacy Park.

RWN has already raised about $50,000 to invest in the appliances and aesthetic repairs to the commercial kitchen space.

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