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Parking Lot Now a Park in Downtown Anniston

“They paved paradise and put up a parking lot…”  The line is from the 1970 song “Big Yellow Taxi” by Joni Mitchell. The opposite has occurred in Anniston, where a parking lot made way for a bit of paradise.

A municipal parking lot in the Downtown Anniston Historic District is now Noble Street Park, located at the corner of 11th and Noble streets. The project involved construction of a brick plaza, pavilion, sidewalks, crosswalks, landscaping, furnishings and irrigation.

The idea for transforming the parking lot into a greenspace started with the Anniston Downtown Core Plan in 2015, said Amy Smith, president of Studio A Design in Birmingham who oversaw the project’s planning and design.

“The pocket park serves as an urban oasis along the city’s Main Street corridor, as a refreshing respite within nature,” Smith explains.  “The park design includes places to gather for small events and celebrations, places for seating under shade trees, and places to immerse in nature.”

A new pavilion offers shade and shelter, with cafe tables to meet for coffee or a picnic lunch, and is near Noble Street which allows people to conveniently drop in.

“The architecture matches the historic character of main street, with brick, and light-colored trim that complements adjacent buildings,” Smith continues. “The pavilion’s clerestory gable roof brings in light and serves as a beacon when internally illuminated at night.  The light-colored roofing material reflects light, which minimizes heat and reduces the overall heat island effect.”

A formal lawn is centered between the pavilion and a small bandstand at the opposite end of the park.  The lawn provides space for events and a place to picnic.  The park includes a bandstand area, slightly raised to provide optimal viewing, and fitted with electrical outlets to support a small performance or movies in the park, explains Smith. All these amenities make the park popular for private event rentals.

The lawn is bordered by a walking path that connects all areas of the park, with small brick alcoves along the outer edges for private seating beneath elm trees.   Other features include an AV system. soft ambient lighting, and lush landscaping with native plants such as Sweetbay Magnolia, Sweetspire, hydrangea, Clethra, Dwarf Wax Myrtle, and Pink Muhly Grass.  An annual flowering bed along Noble Street, ornamental planters, and annual baskets on the pavilion and street lights create seasonal interest.

 

A formal lawn is centered between the pavilion on Noble Street and a small bandstand at the opposite end of the park. The lawn serves as a gathering                                                                                                                                      place for events.

 

The pavilion offers shade and shelter, along with cafe tables to meet for coffee or a picnic lunch. It is located near Noble Street, providing easy                                                                                                                                       access in the downtown district.

 

The bandstand area is slightly raised to allow for optimal viewing, and is fitted with electrical outlets to support a small                                                                                                                                                    performance, or movies in the park.

Native plants include sweetbay magnolia, sweetspire, hydrangea, clethra, dwarf wax myrtle and pink muhly grass. In addition, an annual flowering bed                                                                                along Noble Street, ornamental planters, and annual baskets on the pavilion.

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