Jones, who is originally from Cedartown, addressed the crowd about the ways he and other planners are highlighting historical aspects of Downtown Cedartown in the project. His presentation was entitled, “Adding History to Streetscape Improvements.”
Jones began by describing that a landscape architect is not someone that places decorative plants and trees around homes, rather he does public work and longterm government funded projects. He has recently worked on a streetscape project in East Atlanta, as well as the Rome Town Green, adjacent to the Forum, in Rome.
“People are looking for a different experience when they go out to shop these days,” Jones said. “The days of the closed in mall are coming to an end.” He said that communities are getting back to open spaces like those found in older downtown areas, and he stated this is evident with the popularity of shopping centers rather than an enclosed mall.
For his presentation, Jones mostly focused on the ways that history would be retained and incorporated into the streetscape project.
In the past, large government projects would tear down anything without concern for the history of a place in order to finish the project. Jones stated that the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 stopped all that.
Jones used the example of the East Atlanta streetscape because of that area being the location of the Battle of Atlanta during the Civil War. Likewise, the Rome Town Green incorporated Cherokee history as well as the history Rome’s three rivers.
For the most part, history will be incorporated into the Cedartown project by way of interpretive panels. There will be five new panels placed at various locations.
Jones looked through the archives at the Polk County Historical Society Museum for photographs that went into the design of the interpretive panels. The five panels are titled, “Cobb’s Corner,” “Everyone Loves a Parade,” “Images of Yesteryear,” “Houses of Worship Downtown,” and “Before the Mall.” There will also be a panel explaining the history of Cedartown, as well as a “Welcome to Cedartown” panel with a map and downtown directory. Jones added that any existing historical markers will remain in place.
“The panels are how we want to bring history into this project,” Jones said. “We felt this was a nice thing to share.”
Additionally, the streetscape projects will strategically place new trees to open up the downtown area and show off historic buildings. The trees are Everclear Elms, which Jones called “a nice vertical shade tree, so they won’t crowd the buildings.” Also, he stated some flowering cherry trees may also be incorporated.
“The trees may be a bit off center if you look at them closely, but the point is to show off the buildings,” Jones said.
Planners are intending to make several of the side streets off Main Street one-way so they can put in some angular parking. “This will also provide room for benches, historical markers and other things,” Jones said.
Jones said planners hope to have the project completed by the end of the year.