Hahira Park enters Design Phase

By Jennifer Dandron


Aug 3, 2016​


HAHIRA, Ga. — The Hahira City Center Park has entered the design phase. 


Representatives from Altman + Barrett Architects updated Hahira City Council on the park during the Monday night council work session. The two-phase project is estimated to cost roughly $730,000 with the current design plans, but prices will most likely change as the designs do. 

"We want a safe and secure park to serve Hahira for day and night," said Walter Altman of the architect firm. "We want to encourage a meaningful relationship between the new park and the existing downtown." 


Altman proposed the historical caboose and firetruck, a message board, a train-depot themed restroom and auxiliary building, splash pad, bocce courts and an amphitheater be the main elements of the park. 


Council members reiterated their desire for a fountain be included in the park elements.


Representatives suggested a splash pad that uses unfiltered potable water due to cut down on the costs of maintenance. 


"What we can do to benefit the city in the long run is to take the water that goes in and out (of the splash pad) and put it in the irrigation system," said Leah Finklang, project engineer. "Any kind of grass we plant needs to be irrigated anyway." 


With the highly attended annual Honeybee Festival and Fourth of July celebrations, the architects also included a festival design for the park. 

"The center of the park allows you to fit 15,000 people safely," Altman said. "We can control those edges (of the park) so you can take tickets and money at each entry point." 

Although the land is flat, representatives said an amphitheater could still be erected.  The stage would be 1,500 square feet facing east. 


"We looked at a bunch of different areas and did research," Altman said. "We have it where your performers are not looking west but your crowd is. They'll have a sun shield, but the performers won't, which is why we put it facing east." 


Councilmen talked in length about the train depot's purpose. 


"The depot is all I've been touting," said Councilman Mason Barfield. "To me, that thing could be utilized to draw people in." 


One option discussed was to use the train depot as a new community center since the current center needs to be renovated, according to city officials. 


"A new community center has always been on the back burner," said Hahira City Manager Jonathan Sumner. "The current community center is too small. It's outdated and needs a significant amount of work to the walls and interior. ... Is it cheaper to renovate the community center or construct something that would augment services already provided?” 


The representatives said they would develop a floor plan for the train depot and price fountains. The next update will be 6:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 29, at the court house.  

Jennifer Dandron is a Reporter at the Valdosta Daily Times. She can be reached at (229)244-3400 ext. 1255.