In 2009, a city employee invited me to walk around some empty lots that were picturesque but overgrown with poison ivy and english ivy and privet. She told me that the area was to become a park, but they didn’t know how or when and she was just brainstorming and getting ideas. As time went by, the subject was lost to me. It was destined for others far more qualified than I to make official and real decisions about what to do with that space.
Fast forward 6 years. I returned to see those empty lots about a month ago. It is now the Brook Street Park, at the corner of Haynes Bridge Road and Academy Street.
Of all the things the city has done recently, good, bad, or ugly, this park shines. It is good. I have to admit, am glad to admit, that what the city did here actually exceeds the expectations we had on that day back in 2009.
First of all, the city did right by keeping the two sugar maples (Acer saccharum) that are in the northeast quadrant of the park.
As you wind through the trees on the paved walking path you come to a “stream” – probably the best feature of the entire place! This stream bubbles out in the center of the park and then falls eastward. It’s a great stream, and I know that if my kids were little again, it would be a wading stream on a hot, July day. Not sure that’s the intention, but that’s the temptation.
The center lawn slopes downward to what will hopefully be a pavilion of some sort, according to Councilman Mitchell. I know this was something that was envisioned back in 2009.
There is a formal garden. Now, formal gardens are something I understand well, as I care for formal gardens as a profession. I just hope the city will undertake to keep it up as it deserves. And formal spaces require constant upkeep – that’s the nature of formal spaces. I question the choice of boxwoods. Boxwoods, in particular, require proper shaping. And there’s a new and very serious issue called boxwood blight. Unfortunately, it showed up in Buckhead a little over a year ago. It will eventually strike Alpharetta – and there’s nothing to cure it. Korean boxwoods show the most resistance to it, but this disease will ultimately take out all our boxwoods. It’s an alarming story, particularly when told by University of Georgia plant pathologist, Jean Williams-Woodward. As long as the city takes it upon themselves to care for this formal garden properly, which means being on the lookout for boxwood blight, it will remain a wonderful formal garden.
I know there’s been negative press about the other side of City Hall, but this side of City Hall, the side with Brook Street Park, was done really well and the minds and hands that went into making it are to be commended.