Month: February 2016

Meet Andrew White: Park Pride’s New Director of Park Visioning

We’re thrilled to announce that registered landscape architect, Andrew White, has joined the Park Pride team as the Director of Park Visioning!

Andrew holds a Master’s Degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Georgia and joins us with eight years of experience in designing greenspaces, big and small. His career has taken him from New York City, through Washington, D.C., and finally to his adopted home here in Atlanta.

For the last five years, he has worked on diverse projects in the Atlanta area for Pond and Company, a local architecture and engineering firm. We first got to know Andrew during that time through several projects that he worked on with Park Pride, and we couldn’t be happier that he will help us engage communities to activate the power of parks!

“I am motivated to play an active role in community outreach and public service,
and am committed to optimism, sustainability, and community empowerment through design.”
~Andrew White

As the Director of Park Visioning, Andrew will work with communities across the City of Atlanta to help them re-imagine their parks. He’ll guide Friends of the Park groups through “vision planning” where participants are encouraged to dream big and form consensus around the priority projects they have for the design (or re-design) of their park. At the conclusion of the process, the Friends group is provided with a tangible park master plan that serves both as a conceptual blueprint for future park development and as a valuable fundraising tool.

Andrew will attend Park Pride’s monthly Friends of the Park meeting on Wednesday, March 9th, 7:30am at Oakland Cemetery. We hope you can join us and welcome Andrew personally!

Learn more about Andrew through our short interview below.

Why are parks important?

Parks are critical in so many ways to the health and well-being of cities. They promote public health by providing places for exercise and active living. They help clean our air and water. They can stimulate economic investment in neighborhoods.  They activate children’s interests in science and nature by acting as hands-on interactive classrooms. They have intrinsic aesthetic value and improve the image of the city – the list goes on and on! I can think of no better way to improve quality of life than to build or improve a park.

Park Pride’s mission is “to engage communities to activate the power of parks.” In what ways are parks “powerful”?

The real power of parks lies in the communities that are behind them. Parks provide residents with a means of participating positively in their communities.  If communities can unite and organize around a common vision to improve their parks, then they can feel empowered to make other positive changes in their communities as well.

Why is it important for communities to have a voice in their parks? 

It is the community who will care for it and use it and nurture it!  As consultants, our role in the community is a temporary one. After we leave, and the construction crews are gone and the drawings are rolled up and filed away, if we haven’t succeeded in engaging the community, then we have a park that is isolated from the surrounding community. It is essential that the community have the leading voice in the creation and improvement of their own parks – otherwise you run the risk of creating dead spaces that become detrimental to their communities rather than beneficial.

What are you looking forward to the most about your position as the Director of Park Visioning?

Honestly, I love meeting people.  I think the most exciting thing about this job is the opportunity to meet folks from all over the city to talk about parks – which is one of my favorite subjects!

What’s your favorite local park?

My favorite park in Atlanta has to be Freedom Park – the Freedom Park Trail is a great place to walk my dog or ride my bike. It also is my connection to my favorite places to eat!

What’s your favorite park activity? 

For me, nothing beats spending some quality time with friends laying on the grass, playing catch, and people watching. There is something meditative and beautiful about taking a moment to stop and appreciate the present moment.


Advocate for Parks Funding in DeKalb

Attention Park Advocates!

DeKalb County could possibly obtain a surplus of $21 million in funds from refinancing  bonds at a lower interest rate.

Please ask your Commissioner to support the reinvestment of a minimum of 15% ($3.15 million) to be distributed equitably throughout the 5 Districts back into parks!

3 ACTION ITEMS:

  1.  Attend a meeting (see dates / locations below)
  2.  Call / email your Commissioner
  3.  Pass this information on to your neighbor

 

MEETINGS:  Public Comment Times are FREE and OPEN to the PUBLIC

 

CALL and EMAIL your Commissioner

 

Georgia Legacy Legislation Up for Vote This Year

Georgia Legacy is an initiative supported by a coalition of conservation organizations, including Park Pride, that focuses on preserving our state’s economy and quality of life. 

How?  By creating a new funding source for the acquisition and stewardship of lands critical to water supply, wildlife and outdoor recreation. If approved by the General Assembly this year, voters would have the opportunity to approve Georgia Legacy in a referendum this fall. 

Georgia Legacy would dedicate a portion of the existing state sales tax on outdoor recreation equipment for conservation purposes. Without raising or creating a new tax, it is estimated that as much as $40 million every year would be made available for conservation, including the acquisition and improvement of local parks and trails in Atlanta and throughout the state.

The next step for Georgia Legacy is the passage of House Bill 693 and House Resolution 907 by the Georgia General Assembly.   If passed by the legislature and then approved by the voters in November 2016, local cities and counties would be able to submit proposals for loans or grants beginning next year. 

Other coalition partners include The Conservation Fund, the Georgia Conservancy, Georgia Wildlife Federation, The Nature Conservancy, Trout Unlimited and The Trust for Public Land. 

For more information about Georgia Legacy, visit www.galegacy.org.