Month: July 2016

A Journey Towards More Greenspace

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The first Steering Committee meeting for the greenway along Memorial Drive.

On May 18th, neighbors, business owners, and nonprofit representatives from along Memorial Drive joined the first Steering Committee meeting of Park Pride’s Park Visioning Program. These dedicated stakeholders have embarked on an eight month journey of community building, negotiating, and stretching their imaginations with the ultimate goal of adopting a community-backed park masterplan.

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The second Steering Committee meeting in action.

Led by the Director of Park Visioning, Andrew White, a professional landscape architect, this group will work to articulate the community’s needs for the proposed linear park that wold run the length of Memorial Drive between Oakland Cemetery and the State Capitol. White will then incorporate the community’s ideas into a conceptual masterplan.

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The Steering Committee beginning a walking tour of the proposed park space.

The hopes within the Steering Committee for the park are as diverse as the committee members themselves, but a single dream binds them together: that the park, which is tentatively being called the “Memorial Drive Greenway,” will someday be a space that unites neighborhoods and is enjoyed by families and individuals of all ages and abilities.

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For information about Park Visioning, visit bit.ly/parkvisioning.

Park Pride Proclamation from City Council

On Tuesday, July 5th, Park Pride and The Conservation Fund were presented a proclamation by Atlanta City Council for our commitment to community engagement and partnership for the betterment of communities in Atlanta’s Westside.

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We’re thrilled to be recognized by Council Member Ivory Lee Young and the rest of Atlanta City Council. We look forward to future collaborations with the City, The Conservation Fund and all of the other community and nonprofit partners involved in revitalizing the Westside through green infrastructure and parks!

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Council Member Ivory Lee Young presents the Proclamation to Park Pride and The Conservation Fund.

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Park Pride’s Executive Director, Michael Halicki

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Stacy Funderburke, The Conservation Fund’s Assistant Regional Counsel & Real Estate Associate

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Atlanta City Council, the Community Improvement Association, The Conservation Fund, and Park Pride

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From left: Michael Halicki, Park Pride’s Executive Director; Council Member Ivory Lee Young; Tony Torrence, Community Improvement Association; Stacy Funderburke, The Conservation Fund; Shannon Lee, The Conservation Fund

The Power of Parks on Atlanta’s Westside

A MESSAGE FROM PARK PRIDE’S EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MICHAEL HALICKI

The creation of new parks and the improvement of existing parks are major parts of the narrative that is emerging in the Proctor Creek Watershed on Atlanta’s Westside and central to the plans for its revitalization.

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Michael Halicki addresses attendees to the Vine City Park expansion ribbon cutting ceremony, May 19, 2016

Park Pride is a major part of this narrative, as is The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, the Westside Future Fund and partners that include The Conservation Fund, the Proctor Creek Stewardship Council, West Atlanta Watershed Alliance, Community Improvement Association, Greening Youth Foundation, ECO-Action, the Atlanta University Center and Chattahoochee Riverkeeper. So too are the related efforts of The Trust for Public Land, the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership, Emerald Corridor Foundation, and many other nonprofits and community organizations including the Friends of Maddie Freeland Greenspace, the Friends of Maddox Park and the Historic Washington Park Conservancy.

These groups all believe in the power of parks to reinvigorate a community.

POWER OF PARKS: Great parks have the power to increase our quality of life and strengthen the fabric of our cities. They are places for members of the community to gather, play, relax, and lose themselves in nature, encouraging mental and physical health. Great parks promote community engagement, safety, and revitalization. They spur economic development and benefit tourism. Great parks make our citizens happy, our communities strong, and our cities sustainable.

The City of Atlanta is also a major force for change in Proctor Creek, with support provided by the Atlanta Parks Department, Invest Atlanta, Watershed Management, the Office of Sustainability, Atlanta BeltLine Inc., members of Atlanta City Council and, of course, Mayor Kasim Reed. Most importantly, individual community residents are engaging in public forums, visioning planning efforts, and Friends of the Park groups to ensure that the community’s voice factors into revitalization efforts.

For its part, Park Pride has played a significant role in ensuring that both parks and the community’s wishes are represented in the planning efforts. In 2005, Vine City residents participated in our Park Visioning Program to develop a conceptual plan for Vine City Park, which opened in 2007.

In 2010, Park Pride and partners worked with the community to create the Proctor Creek North Avenue Green Infrastructure Vision (PNA Vision) to address stormwater issues and lack of greenspace in the Vine City and English Avenue neighborhoods.

In 2015, Park Pride supported The Conservation Fund’s efforts to create Lindsay Street Park: the first park in English Avenue and of the PNA Vision. The community-driven process behind Lindsay Street Park was recently recognized with EPA’s Rain Catcher Award.

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Ribbon cutting at Lindsay Street Park, 2015

This year, we returned to Vine City Park, completing an expansion that includes a larger playground, an exercise station and a rain garden. The Greening Youth Foundation played a workforce development role that included local youth in the construction of these parks.

Now, efforts are underway to create a vision for the latest park that is a part of PNA Vision: Boone Park West. While these conversations are emerging, we remain steadfast to the greenspace vision for Atlanta’s Westside, optimistic that the community will continue to be at the center of the discussion, and hopeful to fully harness the power of parks for the betterment of these neighborhoods and all of Atlanta.

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Final Vision for Boone Park West will be completed after a comprehensive community engagement process, led by Park Pride with support from The Conservation Fund.

For more information regarding the park referred to as Boone Park West, read the recent news coverage:

English Avenue’s Boone Park West won’t be just another pretty greenspace – Creative Loafing

Park Officials Say New Greenspace will be Catalyst for Westside Changes – Curbed Atlanta

Blighted urban lots to become new Atlanta park – AJC