Town Converts Parcel into Downtown Hub

January 8, 2024

Robert Steuteville, Congress for the New Urbanism

This article is posted with permission from the Congress of the New Urbanism (CNU) and originally appeared in CNU's online journal, Public Square. It is posted for information purposes only. CNU is solely responsible for the article's content.

Town Green concession area. Courtesy of City of Douglasville.
Town Green concession area. Courtesy of City of Douglasville.

A sold-out concert by soul music legend Gladys Knight opened a new 2-acre park in Douglasville, Georgia, recently—that’s a good sign for the multipurpose public space in the county seat 30 miles west of Atlanta.

Douglasville is another example of a town converting an underutilized parcel downtown into a cool space and regional hub. The Town Green repurposes an existing elevator tower and bridge into a city gateway and event space. The park has a 3,700-person amphitheater, a rooftop event space, restrooms, a concessions building, a splash pad, a boulder climbing area, and “playable art” that now serves as the cultural, civic, and entertainment center of Douglas County.

If a small city or town, central to a larger area, does not have a space like this, starting such a project would be a good New Year's Resolution. Completion would probably take a few years, but it is worth the effort. A multipurpose park benefits everyone and can catalyze economic development, especially when connected to downtown neighborhoods.

Douglasville has a population of 34,000 and was founded as a railroad town in the 1870s. It has a small historic downtown. The new urbanist design firm TSW, based in Atlanta, led the design for the new park.

Town Green aerial. Courtesy of City of Douglasville.
Town Green aerial. Courtesy of City of Douglasville.

“While the Town Green is already serving as a community gathering space, it’s more than just a pretty space,” says Adam Williamson of TSW. “It provides a sustainable model for park development for the region and supports economic development and downtown revitalization goals. When the space isn’t used for city events, the park is open seven days a week for community leisure and recreation.”

The new open-air facility and surrounding park space were several years in the making, first envisioned as a catalyst project recommendation from the Douglasville Downtown Master Plan and 10-Year Strategic Plan.

The city is also working with a developer to incorporate 10,000 square feet of retail space, 350 apartments, and parking as part of the Town Green project, according to the Douglas County Sentinel.

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