Amberle Godfrey, Kay Lawrence and Jack Dunn prepare planters to enhance the new picnic tables on Stegall Drive.
Motorists and pedestrians might notice that a portion Stegall Drive in the heart of Jasper has been spruced up with new outdoor seating and other additions to bolster the downtown scene.
The first block of Stegall Drive is between two corner buildings on Main Street (one home to Pendley Creek Brewing Company and the other soon to be home to L.C. Taco Bar, now under renovation). Parallel parking
spaces have been painted green, eight picnic tables added for downtown seating, and new planters will soon be filled with flowers and greenery. There will also be bollard posts installed on both ends of the area to keep traffic from entering - a center lane will be left open most of the time. (These posts can be easily removed from their bases to either open the area to traffic or close it off).
Umbrellas will be added to picnic tables and there are already hanging white lights in that space between the building added last year for ambiance.
According to Jasper/Pickens County Economic Developer Green Suttles, the idea has been around for at least two years taking shape as other downtown projects were accomplished - he cited changes to the city’s ordinances that paved the way for breweries, an entertainment district, and updated zoning and sign ordinances. The space has long been identified by leaders as a prime public gathering spot for more seating and entertainment.
“The time had come for this to be added to the list,” Suttles said, noting that there is broad support from city officials and DDA members (See public statement from Jasper Mayor Steve Lawrence on page 14A).
The project is a design tactic called “tactical urbanism,” a cost-effective and temporary addition to an area of the city that moves towards long-term changes down the road.
“This is a canvas for the community to be able to create and make a fun place,” said Suttles. “It’s not a permanent installation, but we can play around with it and as a community come up with different uses for it and see what ends up being popular. This is very flexible, and a way for us to test out ideas before we invest in architectural drawings and a more permanent solution down the road.”
The green parking spaces and picnic tables could be the home to future community paintings, Suttles said, and there could be music set up at various times of the year, mini-farmers markets, and a long list of other possibilities.
“We want to hear peoples’ ideas for what would work there,” he said.
The project has been a joint effort and brainchild of the city of Jasper council members and mayor, as well as members of the Downtown Development Authority led by chair Jack Dunn (who owns Jasper Drug on Main Street).
The project has been funded entirely by donors, including Georgia Power. According to Green, 17 local businesses, individuals, and civic clubs have contributed to the project. The Atlantic Coast Conservancy and the City of Jasper gave a sizable donation to fund the new bollard system and barricades.