Park Pride and its project partners have been selected by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) to receive a Great Urban Parks Campaign grant for $437,500 to lead an effort to build a new park in Atlanta’s English Avenue neighborhood. The Great Urban Parks Campaign is a collaborative initiative of NRPA and the American Planning Association (APA). Park Pride is one of four organizations awarded the grant, which supports the development of green infrastructure in America’s urban parks. Other green infrastructure projects were awarded in Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Denver.
The grant award issued to Park Pride will be used to convert a neglected space in English Avenue into a vibrant public park, known as Boone Park West (located at Joseph E. Boone Boulevard and Oliver Street), that engages the community in green infrastructure solutions, increases public access to recreational opportunities, provides jobs and training for residents, reduces negative impacts of polluted stormwater runoff, and restores the natural habitat for biodiversity.
Park Pride, in partnership with The Conservation Fund, will facilitate a community-directed visioning process to develop the park masterplan and ensure that the resulting greenspace meets the needs of the communities it serves. As the site’s land owner, The City of Atlanta’s Department of Parks and Recreation will play a critical role in development and coordination.
Other project partners include The City of Atlanta’s Office of Sustainability, the University Community Development Corporation and Chattahoochee Riverkeeper. The project team also includes a number of community based organizations, including the Proctor Creek Stewardship Council, the Community Improvement Association (CIA), ECO-Action, and the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance, as well as a workforce development component supported by the Greening Youth Foundation that will hire local youth from the surrounding community.
“Park Pride has assembled a dream team to make this park a reality,” said Michael Halicki, executive director with Park Pride. “Our diverse set of partners and unique community-based approach makes Boone Park West a catalyst for positive change that will extend far beyond the footprint of the park.”
“We are honored to support this exciting project, as it will help us showcase the environmental, social and economic benefits of green infrastructure in urban parks nationwide,” said Barbara Tulipane, NRPA President and CEO. “Undoubtedly, the project will make a positive difference in the community — providing additional green space for residents to connect with one another and nature.”
“Parks play an important role in creating communities of lasting value,” said Carol Rhea, FAICP, APA President. “Incorporating green infrastructure into new or existing parks will enhance each community, making them more sustainable, equitable, and resilient for current and future generations.”
Green infrastructure in parks provides an affordable and environmental friendly solution to many of the grey infrastructure challenges facing urban areas, while providing increased access to nature and outdoor recreation for residents.
“The City of Atlanta is proud to partner with Park Pride. The Great Urban Parks Campaign grant will help ensure green infrastructure and recreational opportunities are available in a Westside Atlanta neighborhood where few parks exist,” said Amy Phuong, Commissioner of the City of Atlanta Department of Parks and Recreation. “The NRPA’s Green Infrastructure Convening, which took place in Atlanta this year, provided a fantastic opportunity for the Department of Parks and Recreation to highlight our work to ensure all residents in Atlanta have access to greenspace, and I believe ultimately help keep Atlanta’s parks projects top of mind.”
The Great Urban Parks Campaign aims to improve environmental and social outcomes in underserved communities through green infrastructure projects in local parks. Additionally, the Campaign will result in the development of training resources for park, planning and green infrastructure professionals to improve equity through green infrastructure.
“Building on the successful community-driven model that created Lindsay Street Park and expanded Vine City Park, Boone Park West will become the third park in Atlanta that is part of the Parks With Purpose program,” said Shannon Lee, Conservation Associate from The Conservation Fund’s Georgia Office. “This initiative aims to create parks that provide layered benefits for local communities, including new green spaces, reduced impacts from stormwater runoff and workforce training opportunities for residents.”
Funding for the Great Urban Parks Campaign grant was provided by The JPB Foundation.
For more information about the Great Urban Parks Campaign, visit www.nrpa.org/greeninfrastructure.
To learn more about the benefits of green infrastructure in urban parks, watch this video.