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News: Impact: The GCA's Restoration Initiative


July 23, 2020

Trustees’ Garden Club Legacy Project, Forsyth Park

Forsyth Park has been described as the crown jewel of Savannah, Georgia. In 2016 and 2017, Forsyth Park incurred serious damage from hurricanes Matthew and Irma. The storms significantly impacted the park’s plantings and gardens. The Trustees’ Garden Club (TGC) in Savannah was awarded the GCA's Restoration Initiative grant, which will enable the club to restore lost trees and plantings.

The GCA's Restoration Initiative supports member clubs involved in public landscape restoration and conservation projects in communities devastated by natural disaster. The Trustees’ Garden Club, a member of the GCA since 1941, has long been involved in Forsyth Park’s ongoing care and maintenance and has been one of the TGC’s top priorities. Established in 1841, the park is a premier example of 19th-century landscape architecture and urban planning.

While the club’s Forsyth Park legacy project with the city continues, the GCA's Restoration Initiative grant will enable the club to replace trees and plantings lost in the hurricanes with historically appropriate plant materials.

While some changes to Forsyth Park have occurred over its 175-year history, the northern end, which includes a fountain that has become the symbol of this city, has retained a remarkable degree of historic integrity. The park’s boundaries have remained unchanged since 1867, and its circulation system reflects its 19th-century layout. Savannah, meanwhile, has enjoyed an exponentially booming tourist industry, with nearly 14 million visitors a year, three million of whom visit Forsyth Park. This presents inherent challenges to the city, its infrastructure, and to its significant assets such as Forsyth Park. Some say this historic park is almost being loved to death. 

To ensure the preservation of Forsyth Park, the club launched Friends of Forsyth and initiated the Forsyth Park Project, a multi-year legacy project in partnership with the city of Savannah, the goal of which is to produce a stewardship plan. This ambitious project includes a master plan and National Historic Landmark designation to protect its iconic spaces while meeting the demands of modern life. 

Photo Credit J. Keyes Williamson


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