Memorial Park Improvements

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Project Overview:

Memorial Park is one of Athens' most popular outdoor recreation spots. In addition to its beautiful pondside walking path, picnic areas and dog park; Memorial Park is home to the beloved Bear Hollow Zoo, Athens Creative Theatre and Birchmore Trail. 

Unfortunately, as residential development around the park increases, stormwater flow threatens to overwhelm much of the park's existing infrastructure. A recent engineering report on the state of the park's stormwater system indicates a dire need for repairs and updates to ensure future generations can enjoy this valuable community resource. To address these issues and other needed upgrades there are currently three ongoing improvement projects:

  • Memorial Park Improvements – SPLOST 2020 Project #16
  • Dog Park Improvements – Public Utilities Priority Sewer System Improvements Project
  • Bear Hollow Zoo Improvements – SPLOST 2020 Project #21

See each section below for descriptions of these projects and what they are bringing to Memorial Park. Stay connected and learn about project updates, public input opportunities and timelines by signing up for Memorial Park Updates.

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What's Next?

Public input will be received from August 2nd - September 3rd, 2023 to gain feedback on preliminary designs for Memorial Park Improvements.

View the project story map to learn more details and provide feedback about proposed designs.

Public Meetings:

  • Saturday, August 12 from 9am - 11:30am at Memorial Park Picnic Shelter #2 and Bear Hollow Zoo

Public meetings are drop-in and staff will be available to discuss proposed designs of the project.

An image of the lower parking lot at Memorial Park and an invite to explore the porject story map.

Ongoing Projects:

Memorial Park Improvements

The primary focus of SPLOST 2020 Project #16: Memorial Park Improvements is to replace failed stormwater structures now hindering the park's ability to function. Increase in development around the park has increased its stormwater flow, overloading the pond's capacity. The pond and forebay require dredging, re‐engineering, and significant repairs to prevent failure of these stormwater mitigation components. The ancillary stormwater pipes, inlets, basins, and other features are either silted in, washed out, or completely failed and will need to be partially or entirely replaced. Without this project Memorial Park faces further failure of stormwater infrastructure which will impact the park and surrounding neighborhoods.

Other improvements addressed by this project are the redevelopment of vehicular and pedestrian circulation throughout the park. Related projects would enhance pedestrian safety, improve ADA access to park amenities, provide additional parking opportunities, improve the stormwater systems associated with park drives, and improve access for school buses.

As the budget allows, certain existing park amenities affected by construction will be upgraded to reflect Leisure Services' current amenity standards. Such amenities include benches, picnic tables, and waste receptacles.

Dog Park Improvements

Improvements to the dog park are being provided by a partnership between Athens-Clarke County Leisure Services and ACC Public Utilities Department through a Priority Sewer System Improvements Project. This project will require the re-routing of the existing sewer line through the dog park and re-grading of the dog park to create an access drive for utility service vehicles. Improvements to the dog park will include improved ADA access, a pet water fountain, new seating throughout the park, a covered shade structure with a concrete pad and seating, and improved fencing around the dog park. Construction of this project started in late Summer 2022 and is scheduled to conclude in Fall 2023. Site furniture, shade structure, and the additional cost for upgrading the dog park fence to a 5' no climb fence will be provided by 2020 SPLOST Project #20. The remainder of this project is funded by the Priority Sewer Improvements Project. 

Bear Hollow Zoo Improvements

Improvements include construction of a reptile house with restrooms, quarantine houses, animal enclosures and night houses to improve the lives of the zoo inhabitants, enhance visitor experience and/or as matching funds for grant opportunities. These improvements will be included in the 2020 SPLOST Project #21 and are scheduled to begin during Summer 2027.

See the full details of the SPLOST projects for Memorial Park and Bear Hollow Zoo.

Let us know what you think!

Please email or call 706-613-3800.