Following the celebration of our 30th anniversary, we began 2020 with strong expectations and significant goals. Little did we know that March would bring about unexpected and unprecedented challenges.
Park Pride made the decision to help slow the spread of COVID-19 by postponing all in-person meetings, events, and activities starting in mid-March. We quickly adjusted our services to virtual platforms and expanded our outreach activities.
Navigating lock-down measures and social distancing, Atlantans turned to neighborhood parks for refuge, an opportunity to work out and to relax, and to still feel a part of a larger community. Parks and recreation centers served essential functions as food distribution points, COVID-19 testing sites, and distance learning centers. These flexible public spaces emerged as critical infrastructure—as cornerstones of our communities—that contributed to the resiliency of our city and people. It is clear now more than ever that parks are not a nice to have: they are a necessary component of a healthy neighborhood. Parks improve the quality of our lives, promote public health, and are critical to our mental well-being. This means that Park Pride’s work has never been more important than it is today.
Looking back at 2020, we see all that was accomplished in such an unprecedented time. Our comprehensive set of programs works to bring the benefits of parks to neighborhoods in and around Atlanta. Nowhere is this more apparent than at Mattie Freeland Park, a community-supported greenspace that we highlight in this report.
As we emerge from the pandemic and look to the year ahead, we value and appreciate those who support our mission and those who work to improve their parks and their communities. We look forward to being out in the city’s parks again, working in-person with you to activate the power of parks. Thank you.
Executive Director, Park Pride