Month: June 2016

Ribbon Cutting at Adams Park’s “Splash Island”


Welcome to “Splash Island!”

On Tuesday June 21, 2016, City of Atlanta, Carnival Cruise Lines, and Park Pride cut the ribbon on the brand new splash pad at Adams Park (Southwest Atlanta). “Splash Island” is situated conveniently next to the Adams Park pool, and includes water blasters, spray tunnels, and a bucket that periodically pours water over the area.

The children of Camp Best Friends filled the audience and were the first to play in the splash pad after the ribbon cutting.

Highlights of the ribbon cutting are quoted below.


“Atlanta is having a busy year with our parks. It seems like every other week we are cutting the ribbon on a new greenspace or a major enhancement like this new splash pad.”

“… we have an obligation to make sure that you all have what we had when we were growing up. And not only to make sure that you have what we had, but to make sure that what you all have is actually better than what we had. So today I am pleased to say that Adams Park right now is better than the Adams Park when I was growing up, and that’s what being Mayor of the City of Atlanta is all about. I love you guys, you all are 100% of the future. Everything we do in the City of Atlanta is really all about making sure that you have a fair shot and a fair shake in life.”

-Mayor Kasim Reed



“This park is so very near and dear to me. I learned to swim right here in Adams Park. My dad use to coach baseball here. Whenever I come into this park I think of my dad… I asked my mom to bring [my kids] here today because I want them to have the same memories that I have of Adams Park.”

“And so I am so please that we have partners like Park Pride, and Carnival, and people like Amy Phuong and her staff who really pour their all into making sure that every corner of this city is taken care of.”

“What we expect is that when you grow up, and you get a little older like me, that you’ll stand here and you’ll do this for someone else.”

-Council Member Keisha Lance Bottoms



“I can’t wait to see the enjoyment you all are going to get out of this [splash pad].

“We’re happy to be here to give fun back to the community.”

-Mike Pack, Carnival Cruise Director



“I wanted to just mention when I got here and had a moment to speak with Domonique, he was talking about his experiences with parks and recreation making him who he is today, and then we heard just a moment ago from Mayor Kasim Reed the role of parks in his upbringing and his early days. That’s what we at Park Pride call the ‘power of parks’… it’s because of places like this that all of you can be an NBA super star or the next Mayor of Atlanta.

The other reason that we’re here today is to celebrate the power of partnerships, and partnerships are what Park Pride is all about. We bring the community, the City, and funders together, and in doing so we maximize the potential of what’s possible for City of Atlanta parks. The Adams Park pool and splash pad are perfect examples of how this plays out… By leveraging the power of partnerships we took something that could have been good, and we made it great.

-Michael Halicki, Executive Director of Park Pride

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Meet Natasha Burr: Park Pride’s New Park Visioning Intern!


Natasha Burr will soon graduate with a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture and certificate in Environmental Ethics from The University of Georgia. She is a LEED Green Associate and drafts maps for the Cultural Landscape Lab. She is a radio host on WUOG, the college radio station, and spends her free time throwing pottery on a wheel, hiking, and visiting museums.

“What’s so great about Park Pride, and what I’m looking forward to the most, is having the opportunity to be a part of something so much bigger than myself that impacts the human experience and generally improves people’s lifestyle and well-being.” Natasha Burr, Park Visioning Intern

As the Park Visioning Intern, Natasha will assist communities in re-imagining their parks, overcome design challenges, and enhance the capacity of Park Pride’s Visioning team!

Learn more about Natasha through our interview below.

Why are parks important?

Great parks improve how people live, relax, and experience a place. They become a central location for some community members to meet and interact, and a place of solace from the rest of the world to others. Great parks are aesthetically pleasing spaces that provide people with the ability to immerse themselves in the natural world while simultaneously staying in the city.

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

Parks are “powerful” because they provide people with a place to get in touch with nature when they ordinarily wouldn’t have the ability to do so. This interaction gives people a sense of harmony with both nature and among other humans because they connect with a common appreciation for parks.

Parks are also fundamental to a child’s development as how they play in a park is bound only by the constraints of their imagination – and general park rules, of course 🙂

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

Since parks are for the people, the people deserve to have their say in what happens to their parks. Park spaces are dynamic and attract different members of the community depending on what they enjoy doing at the park – it’s important that all of their voices are heard.

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

What’s so great about Park Pride, and what I’m looking forward to the most, is having the opportunity to be a part of something so much bigger than myself that impacts the human experience and generally improves people’s lifestyle and well-being.

I also can’t wait to get more involved with community engagement. It’s refreshing to listen to other people’s perspectives of what makes a park successful and what they most enjoy about public greenspaces.

What’s your favorite local park?

My favorite local park is Historic Old Fourth Ward Park. Not only for its innovation in sustainable storm water infrastructure, but also because of the elegant juxtaposition of a rich natural environment in the middle of an urban space. I love walking to it from the Atlanta BeltLine and some of my fondest memories include stopping over at the park with friends before watching bands play at the Masquerade.

What’s your favorite park activity?

I love playing disc golf in parks. It’s a great way to explore the woodlands and find a nice place to watch the natural scenery. On a whim, I once drove 260 miles to a destination disc golf course in the center of the Smoky Mountains!

Park Pride and The Conservation Fund Announce Commitment to Building Community & Parks

CGI for blog

Park Pride’s Executive Director, Michael Halicki, takes the stage at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting as Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed announces Commitment to Action.

On June 13, 2016, Park Pride, The Conservation Fund and partners announced a “Commitment to Action” to encourage economic growth and opportunity for those living within Atlanta’s Proctor Creek Watershed at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) America Meeting. The neighborhoods within the Proctor Creek Watershed, including Vine City and English Avenue, have long suffered from the negative effects of combined sewer overflows, economic disinvestment, social and educational challenges, and lack of greenspace.

The commitment launched at CGI America to “Build Community with Green Infrastructure & Parks” focuses on the conversion of several blighted urban lots within the Proctor Creek Watershed into a vibrant park to be known as Boone Park West. Further, the commitment proposes additional benefits related to the park’s development—community engagement in park design and construction, education of community residents in green infrastructure solutions, and access to jobs and workforce training for residents—all of which will serve to catalyze economic revitalization for the surrounding community.


The current site of the future Boone Park West.

Boone Park West is part of a larger green infrastructure vision (Proctor Creek North Avenue Green Infrastructure Vision, Park Pride, 2010) that addresses the lack of greenspace and the need for stormwater solutions in the headwaters of the Proctor Creek Watershed. A key component of Boone Park West will be a green infrastructure amenity designed to capture, clean and infiltrate at least 37,000 cubic feet of stormwater from the surrounding streets, mitigating the recurrent flooding that has historically plagued these neighborhoods.

Boone Park West Concept_web

Through Park Pride’s Park Visioning Program, the final park masterplan will be based on the communities’ wants and needs and driven by community input.

Park Pride will facilitate a community-directed process to develop the park masterplan and ensure that the resulting greenspace meets the needs of the communities it serves. The Conservation Fund will support this community initiative, in addition to serving as the lead in property acquisition for all remaining lots. Other project partners include The City of Atlanta’s Department of Parks and Recreation, The City of Atlanta’s Office of Sustainability, the University Community Development Corporation, the Proctor Creek Stewardship Council, Chattahoochee Riverkeeper and Greening Youth Foundation.

“Our Commitment to Action recognizes the role parks and greenspace can play in making Atlanta a more sustainable city. We are excited to have this opportunity to connect with the Clinton Global Initiative and thought leaders from around the country and to advance solutions to the challenges facing urban areas across the United States.” Michael Halicki, Park Pride’s Executive Director

Boone Park West will serve as an invaluable amenity to the community, providing residents in Vine City and English Avenue with a place to relax, exercise, play with their families, and meet their neighbors.

“By working in partnership with foundations, corporations, government agencies, other nonprofit organizations, and most importantly, with the local communities, we can meet the needs of area residents. This will be a Park with Purpose, providing environmental, economic, and social justice benefits that improve the health and quality of life for everyone in the Proctor Creek Watershed.”
Stacy Funderburke, The Conservation Fund’s Assistant Regional Counsel & Real Estate Associate


After Mayor Kasim Reed announced the Commitment to Action “Building Community with Green Infrastructure & Parks,” at the CGI America meeting, Halicki had the opportunity to speak directly to what this park means to the future of Atlanta’s Westside. Highlights of this press conference are quoted below.


“[Boone Park West] will increase public access to recreational opportunities, provide jobs and workforce training for residents, improve the environment, restore natural habitat, and act as a catalyst for economic revitalization and job creation.”

“Here’s some more good news… Trust for public land is working with the City of Atlanta to build a new world class 16 acre park, not far from where we are right now. I could not be more excited to announce the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation has committed $2.5 million as a seed grant for the  construction of Mims Park.”

-Mayor Kasim Reed



“In order for public parks to be relevant in blighted neighborhoods like Vine City and English Avenue, they need to be about more than just parks. They need to engage the community, and involve new partners. They need to provide additional benefits through green infrastructure, jobs training, and education. They need to be transformational. Boone Park West takes what we’ve learned from Lindsay Street Park and Vine City Park and takes it to the next level. It’s what the Conservation Fund calls a ‘park with purpose.’ It engages the community as a partner in conceptualizing the park, building the park, and activating the park. It involves an expansive group of partners that continues to build and grow. We are heavily invested in this commitment and this new transformational approach.”

-Michael Halicki, Executive Director of Park Pride


“Mims Park will be the westside equivalent of the Old Fourth Ward Park, for those of you who are from Atlanta, you have seen how that park transformed the neighborhood where it was. We believe the same thing will happen on the westside, that this is a community development project, it’s a sustainability project, that it will provide jobs, and it will solve a flood plane problem that’s been long standing in these neighborhoods. So this is an important centerpiece of what we believe will be catalytic redevelopment on the westside.”

-Penny McPhee, President of the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation


Vine City Park Ribbon Cutting – Recap

The Vine City Park Ribbon Cutting that took place on Thursday, May 19 was a wonderful celebration of the teamwork and collaboration that went into making this park a more  useful space for the Vine City community.

Elected government officials and representatives from nonprofit and community organizations participated in the celebration, including: Mayor Kasim Reed; Commissioner of Parks and Recreation-Amy Phuong; Counsilmember Ivory Lee Young Jr.; Chief of Police George N. Turner of Atlanta Police Department; Major Timothy Quiller of Atlanta Police Department; Executive Director of Park Pride-Michael Halicki;  Assistant Regional Counsel and Real Estate Associate, Stacy Funderburke; Linda Adams of the Vine City Civic Association; and Byron Amos of the Friends of Vine City Park.

The ribbon cutting marked the completion of the park’s Phase II developments, which includes acquisition of additional properties doubling the size of the park and allowing for a range of new amenities. Vine City Park (on Atlanta’s westside) now provides an expanded playground, new exercise equipment and green infrastructure features, such as a rain garden, a dry creek bed and a micro-forest, as well as educational signage explaining how these features will help to mitigate the flooding caused by stormwater runoff that has historically plagued the Vine City neighborhood.

Park Pride is proud of the role we played to help the Vine City community articulate their dreams for their park through our Park Visioning program that resulted in a conceptual masterplan for Vine City Park.

See below for a photo recap of the event.

IMGP6492“Greenspace of course is a very vital tool in our communities to help to ensure that we are vibrant, that we are economically stable, that we have wonderful places for adults and community members and children to visit all across the city.” -Amy Phuong, City of Atlanta’s Commissioner of Parks and Recreation.


IMG_8276“One goal of mine is to make sure that everyone in our city, no matter where they live, is within a half mile walk of a park or a greenspace. Today brings us closer to that reality in Vine City and the westside.” – City of Atlanta’s Mayor, Kasim Reed

“Parks bring an endless amount of good to neighborhoods. They contribute to the quality of life for all of us. They strengthen the tapestry that is the City of Atlanta. Greenspace helps cities breath. They add a natural rhythm to our daily routines. They help us slow down in our lives, stretch out, and reflect on our sense of community and the greater good.” -Mayor Kasim Reed


IMG_8286b“The community established a vision for re-purposing this ground, and we’ve done everything we could to grow and develop that vision. We’re in the shadow of new houses that have been built in the last 15-20 years, right around you, stimulated by this park. Residents who have been here for decades, as I have, are not leaving.” – City of Atlanta Coucilmember, Ivory Lee Young Jr.


IMG_8304b“What’s so inspirational about this park is that it has really, truly been a labor of love. It’s been a vision of the community, of the residents, of Byron Amos.” -Penny McPhee, President of the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation

“Park Pride has been an amazing partner for this park, and for so many parks in the City of Atlanta. We could not do it without Park Pride.” -Penny McPhee


IMG_8307b.jpg“This park is part of a larger vision. Park Pride developed a vision back in 2010 known as the Proctor Creek North Avenue Green Infrastructure Vision. Since that time we’ve been working with different partners to develop this vision park by park… So, echoing what Mayor Kasim Reed said, you haven’t seen anything yet. This is really just the second park in this larger greenspace vision.” -Michael Halicki, Executive Director of Park Pride


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