Community Input Needed for First-ever Forsyth Park Master Plan

Staff Report

Friday, October 30th, 2020

For the first time in its 179-year history, Forsyth Park will have a master plan. Trustees' Garden Club is fully funding the development of a master plan for the park as a legacy gift to the city. Nelson Byrd Woltz, a landscape architecture firm, will lead the process to develop the long-term plan for Forsyth Park, as Trustees' Garden Club partners with the City of Savannah to steward the park into the future. 

The most important part of the planning process is gathering input from the entire Savannah community.

Those who want to provide feedback can go to the Friends of Forsyth website to take a survey about the park, share input on an ideas wall and post comments on an interactive map of the park. Signs and banners in the park will also direct park-goers to the website. 

Virtual town hall meetings will be held via Zoom and advertised in the park, through social media and on the City of Savannah and Friends of Forsyth websites.

Trustees' Garden Club will also engage with neighborhood associations, faith-based and civic organizations to gather feedback.

"Forsyth Park is at the very heart of our community," said Mayor Van Johnson. "We are grateful to Trustees' Garden Club for leading this effort and funding the project to protect and preserve this special place. The council and I urge all citizens to make their voices heard during the planning process by filling out surveys and attending virtual feedback meetings. Together, we will create a master plan that reflects the collective vision of our community."

The Forsyth Park Master Plan will establish a vision for the park for decades to come. The plan will provide comprehensive guidelines and create a framework to determine the major and incremental actions needed to achieve the vision.  

The master plan will provide a tangible assessment of the park's current condition and outline opportunities for future infrastructure, educational programming, and other enhancements. It will also articulate a shared vision for the park's future with a clear set of recommendations and strategies for managing change, identifying challenges and opportunities, and decision-making.

The plan will be developed in three phases: discovery, conceptual design, and master plan. Initial background work, like a topographic and tree survey, began in spring 2020. The master plan is expected to be completed in ten months.

Forsyth Park is a premier example of landscape architecture and urban planning in the United States during the nineteenth century. Established in 1841 as Forsyth Place and later expanded to include the military parade grounds to its south, it continues to serve Savannah residents and tourists as a popular site for passive and active recreation, events, dining and the farmers market.