Graduate students from Auburn University’s Landscape Architecture program were in Tallassee recently to help produce a new vision for the local landscape.
Led by Rob Holmes, Auburn University assistant professor of landscape architecture, the students met with Tallassee Mayor John Hammock, Central Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission Executive Director Greg Clark and Alabama Power employees. They discussed the history of Tallassee, issues facing the community and opportunities to incorporate the area’s existing and natural resources.
Hammock shared several ideas that city leaders have discussed to promote development around Thurlow Dam and the Tallapoosa River, including new walking paths, a pedestrian bridge, downtown streetscapes and redevelopment of an old textile mill site.
The meeting was coordinated by Chris Goodman, Alabama Power Hydro manager, who saw an opportunity to connect the students with the city after hearing about the project. Tallassee is home to Alabama Power’s historic Yates Dam and Thurlow Dam.
Thurlow Dam, built in 1930, sits next to a former textile mill that was the heart of the Tallassee community for many years. The site is also home to what was an ammunition and supply factory during the Civil War.
Yates Dam, built in 1928, sits just upstream from Thurlow Dam. In addition to electricity, both dams and lakes have boosted the economy while providing recreation, wildlife habitat and flood control for the area.
“Students previously completed a project on the Chattahoochee River (on the Alabama-Georgia border), and for this class we wanted to focus on a waterway here in our home state of Alabama,” Holmes said. “I knew Chris Goodman with Alabama Power and reached out to see if, after seeing firsthand some of the work students were doing, he could connect us to a local community to work with. I have heard a lot about the city of Tallassee and Thurlow Dam and was very excited to hear that he thought the community would be open to a partnership with our students.”
The Auburn students have been asked to use everything they have learned about landscape architecture in creating the new vision for Tallassee. Holmes emphasized that their vision should be based on a long-term investment and partnership with the community. Using the Tallapoosa River as an anchor, each of the 10 graduate students will develop his or her own idea of how best to use the lands surrounding the river and city. These projects are part of their final coursework in the Landscape Architecture program.
“We welcome fresh eyes looking at the issues we face and helping us address them through a new perspective,” Clark said. “This has reaffirmed existing partnerships between Tallassee, Alabama Power and Auburn University, showing that these relationships are alive and well. Cities can’t do it alone; it takes partnerships. Partnerships are what help move things forward.”
(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)