BURNS BOTTOM PARK / TENNESSEE WILLIAMS POCKET PARK COLUMBUS, MISSISSIPPI
The project is composed of three phases. Phase One, completed in September 2012, is Burns Bottom Park, a 35-acre multi-use park with 10 soccer fields and amenities. Phase Two is the Tennessee Williams Pocket Park. Phase Three improves pedestrian connections between these two parks and the existing Columbus Riverwalk.
Phase One: Columbus is blessed with a healthy, pedestrian friendly downtown and nationally recognized Main Street Program. Building on this success, the conceptual approach to Burns Bottom Park begins with an urban sensibility. Soccer fields are woven into the existing underutilized street grid. This grid is augmented with the addition of curbs and gutters, parallel parking, and wide sidewalks attended by canopy shade trees. This dispersal of site parking provides amenities to the community at large, beyond the intense parking demands of the occasional soccer tournament. This dispersal of parking also has the net effect of minimizing the footprint of the soccer component of the park, preserving the heavily wooded wetlands west of Moore’s Creek, and minimizing the impact of the automobile on the nature trails and other amenities threaded through this ecosystem. This trail system is extended under the highway approach to Columbus providing unimpeded pedestrian connection to the existing Riverwalk.
Phase Two: The Tennessee Williams Pocket Park, takes advantage of a shared parking agreement between the existing Columbus Visitor’s Bureau, housed in Tennessee Williams childhood home announcing your arrival downtown from the highway, and a new mixed-use building recently constructed on the same city block. This shared parking affords a significant reduction in the existing surface parking lot. This parking sequestration eliminates the curb cut on Main Street, allowing the park full frontage to it. The existing Catfish and Crawdad Alleys are enhanced, encouraging pedestrian approach to the pocket park, mid-block from the east.
Phase Three applies the widened sidewalk and tree planting regimen to the city blocks between Phase One, Phase Two and the Riverwalk to the west, enhancing pedestrian connectivity from downtown to Burns Bottom and the Riverwalk. The tree planting is continued along the vehicular approach to Main Street from the west, supporting its transition from highway to street by metaphorical extension of the downtown urban wall to the highway, slowing approaching highway traffic.