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Hurt Park Renovation Supports Georgia State University’s Explosive Growth

Opening to the public in 1940, the new and improved public park setting of Atlanta’s Hurt Park, developed by HGOR and additional project partners, recently celebrated its reopening on August 23rd. A key driver in the design centered around supporting Georgia State University’s explosive growth. With the realization that Hurt Park, owned by the City of Atlanta and managed by GSU, is only a portion of the University’s grand vision, many individuals are thrilled to welcome vibrancy back to the park.

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Hurt Park, downtown Atlanta’s first public park since the 1860s was one of Atlanta’s main attractions throughout the 40s and 50s, playing a prominent role in the area’s morphing into a thriving city center. Its notable characteristics included the Fountain of Light, an electric water display featuring a dazzling array of lights and waterspouts.

Since the beginning, GSU, known as one of the nation’s most diverse campuses ranking #4 out of 106 in a 2021 study, has wanted to renovate Hurt Park to keep students safe. With the tremendous growth of the student population skyrocketing to more than 52,000 across their six Atlanta campuses and the contribution of $2.8 billion in economic impact that the University’s existence has meant for metro Atlanta, the desire for renovations became even more of a priority.

Renovations included:

  • Fountain cleaning and restoration (new mechanics and electrical systems and new fountain lighting)
  • Incorporating required ADA-compliancy features
  • Cleaning, repairing and repointing fountain wall and stairs
  • Adding necessary safety elements: handrails on stairs and increased lighting
  • Integrating concrete stage 30″ above front seating and seating area improvements
  • Remodeled pedestrian walkways widened for 20′ x 30′ stage
  • Enhanced surrounding greenspaces
  • Re-grading central lawn providing stage-like atmosphere and proper drainage components
  • Electrical capabilities meeting WiFi data requirements

Other safety endeavors included ensuring the park’s lighting follows the proper codes and fixtures meet the City of Atlanta’s standards was facilitated by installing mobile-use switches while confirming the alignment with GSU facilities and removing outdated lights. To improve park visibility, HGOR worked with an arborist to create a clear line of sight, as many of the trees had become overgrown. The overall restoration plan prepared Hurt Park for installing security cameras – completing its safety initiative.

Pedestrian Graphic Analysis showing Hurt Park in relation to GSU facilities

The newly restored Hurt Park offers a greenspace with modernized elements aligning with the growing area and GSU’s campus and provides enhanced socialization opportunities for the student population. Additional masterplan improvements will likely solidify the campus as a leading force in higher education and drive Atlanta’s economy through future development. It will allow Georgia State University students to unite in group activities and create meaningful new traditions.

HGOR is an Atlanta-based planning and landscape architecture firm that provides holistic design approaches backed by decades of experience in cross-disciplinary innovation. Founded in 1992, HGOR exceeds client expectations by developing people-centric, innovative, cost-effective, and strategically planned design solutions.


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