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Plans for fence surrounding downtown’s Hurt Park raise concerns about homeless patrons

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Georgia State University is planning a makeover of the popular green space

A greenspace in downtown atlanta with trees.
Downtown’s triangular Hurt Park.
Curbed Atlanta

A gated fence could soon encase downtown’s historic Hurt Park.

Built in 1940, the park has long been a hub for downtown workers and residents, Georgia State University students, and the homeless.

Now that a fence is planned to wrap the property, concerns have arisen over what might happen to the homeless population that sleeps there, according to Saporta Report.

Bordered by Courtland Street, Gilmer Street, and Edgewood Avenue, Hurt Park is adjacent to the Atlanta Streetcar line and has its own stop.

The property is owned by the City of Atlanta, but GSU controls it and is inching toward a restoration project that would create a gated perimeter fence, according to a recent report by the city’s Urban Design Commission.

UDC staff, though, raised concerns about the plans for the fence, writing in their report that “this approach to the chronic homeless issues experienced by the park would result in a net negative for the urban environment surrounding the park.”

Essentially, a lot of homeless people take refuge at Hurt Park, and fencing the place off would push them elsewhere.

A sign for Hurt Park with a homeless person and pedestrians at right.
Downtown’s homeless populations frequent the park.
Google Maps

The UDC staff also suggested the idea would make the park “uninviting to users and would lead to general disuse of the space.”

The fence has already been approved by the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation, although the exact design has yet to be finalized, according to the publication.

Homeless outreach efforts are common at Hurt Park, including a weekly event where people provide free lunch to folks staying there.

UDC staff suggested GSU read up on social programs that could be used to combat Atlanta’s chronic homeless issues; the school responded that HOPE Atlanta would be providing those services, per Saporta Report.