MILTON, Ga. — The first major improvements for Providence Park since the city reopened the 42-acre site in 2016 are just around the corner.
Construction will begin soon on the park’s new trails system, which will add over 1.5 miles of ADA-compliant paths, and a new bathroom facility and pier.
“We plan and plan and plan, but now we are getting to the point of doing,” Parks and Recreation Director Jim Cregge said. “The public is passionate about this, and we gathered a lot of community input, we created plans, the City Council approved the plans and now it’s go-time.”
Land surveyors Brumbelow-Reese and Associates are engineering the new trails, and their work should be done in the upcoming weeks, Cregge said. From that point, the city will open a 30-day bidding process for construction of the trails and work will begin soon after a firm is selected.
“I think we are going to see active work that is visible to the public in three months,” Cregge said.
The new paths, which will be a mixture of porous rubber and asphalt, include a west, central and east trail.
The west trail will be asphalt and will be 5 feet wide and 0.3-miles long. The path begins along Providence Park Drive south of the parking lot and will run in a similar path of the already-in-place red trail.
The city has chosen to abandon portions of the red trail than are located near adjacent residential properties. Benches on abandoned sections will be relocated. Cregge said relocating the benches, which were built by Boy Scouts, will save the city around $15,000.
The west trail will intersect the new central trail just south of Providence Lake. The central trail will be 8-feet wide and 0.29-miles long and will complete a loop with the west trail back to Providence Park Drive. Users of the central path can also go north at the intersection and use an 80-foot boardwalk to access Providence Lake.
The boardwalk will run over an ephemeral stream that dries up in the summer.
The east trail will begin at the north end of the parking lot and will travel northeast before cutting west to join the central trail at Providence Lake.
Cregge said the trails will have a minimal impact on the site’s natural footprint and are being designed around existing trees.
Milton is in the process of contracting an architectural firm and civil engineers for the permanent bathroom facility near the parking lot and the pier. Construction on those projects is also coming soon, Cregge said.
All three improvement projects come with a significant cost savings to taxpayers. The city received hundreds of thousands of dollars through state grants, including a $200,000 grant from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources for the trails and a $100,000 grant from the DNR’s Land and Water Conservation Fund for the bathroom building.
Providence Park was shut down for more than a decade because of environmental issues before the city purchased the site from Fulton County. It reopened in 2016 after cleanup efforts received an all-clear from the state EPD. However, the city has only been maintaining the site since, so the improvement projects mark “exciting times” for the city and its residents, Cregge said.
“It has taken a little longer than I wanted, but sometimes that is what you have to do to make sure things are done right,” he said.
The new trails, pier and bathroom building were included in the Providence Park master plan the city approved in June. The master plan, which serves as a guiding document for the park’s buildout, also includes a nature center, a woodland camping area, a lawn area and a 1-acre performance green within the quarry.