Forsyth Park is a priceless asset to Savannah. Over the years as the city and tourism have grown, so have the amount and types of use of the park. In some ways, the park is being loved to death. Creating a Master Plan to act as a guideline for the park’s use and development is a way to protect this precious asset while also allowing it to evolve to meet the demands of modern life.
The purpose of a Master Plan is to protect and preserve the aspects of the park that we love while also establishing a vision for Forsyth Park for the future. The Plan will provide comprehensive guidelines and create a framework to determine major and incremental actions needed to achieve the vision and be a guidance and policy tool for decision-making as implementation of the Plan occurs.
The Master Plan will:
- Provide a tangible assessment of the current condition of the park and outline opportunities for future infrastructure, educational and other enhancements
- Articulate a common vision for the park’s future with a clear set of recommendations and strategies for managing change
- Identify challenges and opportunities in the park and provide guidelines for decision-making
- When completed, the Master Plan for Forsyth Park will be a comprehensive action plan for managing and executing change for the park. The plan will include implementation guidance, act as a policy tool, and provide a platform for any potential future fundraising efforts.
In 2015, Trustees’ Garden Club identified a multi-year legacy project to give as a gift to the City of Savannah. The primary focus of the project is the creation of a Master Plan for Forsyth Park. A secondary goal is listing of the park as a National Historic Landmark as it is currently excluded from the National Historic Landmark District. This effort is called The Forsyth Park Project.
The process has been one of inclusion from the very beginning, where everyone has a seat at the table. Mayors Jackson, DeLoach and now Mayor Johnson, all of the Aldermen, numerous members of City staff, the MPC, as well as hundreds of outside organizations have been contacted to seek input and perspective every step of the way. From the beginning the project team has worked in partnership with City staff to create a comprehensive strategy to involve as many citizens across the community as possible.
Forsyth Park belongs to all of the citizens of Chatham County. Your feedback is an important part of designing a Master Plan that preserves this iconic treasure while also meeting the needs of our community.
Founded in 1926, Trustees’ Garden Club is part of The Garden Club of America, an organization of 201 member clubs with over 18,000 members nationwide. The Club has a long history of undertaking significant community improvement projects in every Aldermanic district, including many projects focused on the beautification of Forsyth Park.
The original community engagement strategy was designed before the pandemic hit. The process was then redesigned still including all of the elements but to now be primarily virtual while blending in some in-person elements where possible.
The Forsyth Park Project is a joint project of Trustees’ Garden Club and the City Of Savannah. The Master Plan portion of the project is being led by the landscape architecture firm, Nelson Byrd Woltz . NBW has assembled a team of highly sought-after professionals in relevant fields such as civil engineering, community engagement, historic preservation, lighting design, cost estimating, and public space management.
John Forsyth Sr. (October 22, 1780 – October 21, 1841) was a 19th century American politician from Georgia. He represented the state in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, and also served as the 33rd Governor of Georgia. In addition, he served as the Secretary of State under both Presidents Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren. Forsyth Park is named in his honor.
Because Georgia state law regulates changes to existing monuments, the Forsyth Park Master Plan process will not make recommendations regarding the future of the Civil War Memorial. However, we encourage you to use the tools on the website to make your voice heard. All comments and feedback on how the memorial impacts users’ experiences at the park will be shared with City leadership and the Civil War Task Force to support that ongoing and separate effort.
The cost of the Master Plan is $600,000. Trustees’ Garden Club is paying for the plan in its entirety through fundraising efforts and grants. The City will bear no expense.
The Master Plan will establish a framework for achieving the collective vision of the community for the park and determine major & incremental actions integral to making the vision a reality. The plan will be a guidance & policy tool for decision-making as implementation occurs. Implementation will take place over a number of years by coordinating efforts of city officials and departments, community members and non-profit partners.
While Trustees’ Garden Club is funding the project and undertaking it in concert with the City, we felt that a public identity for the project was needed. Thus, in consultation with City Staff we created the brand and website, “Friends of Forsyth”. The website acts as the go to resource for the community to engage in the process via surveys, brainstorming sessions, community meetings and interactive maps to provide input on the design.