Atlanta’s relationship with the Chattahoochee is multifaceted. Historically a corridor of trade between the Cherokee and Muscogee people, the river was given over to industry after colonization. Today, the Chattahoochee provides water to Atlanta’s growing population and native wildlife, countless opportunities for recreation, and an unparalleled respite from the fast pace of city life.
Despite these overlapping layers of natural, cultural, and historical meaning, City of Atlanta residents have had no direct access to the river via public parks or trails, nor to the health and wellness benefits that such amenities provide. Only recently is that beginning to change thanks to a collaborative effort between Park Pride, the community, partner nonprofits, and local government.
Park Pride Invests in a Transformative Vision
Riverwalk Atlanta is a vision for a five-mile system of trails and parks that provides the first direct access to the Chattahoochee in the City of Atlanta. Keith Sharp, a local community leader, had been advocating for its implementation for decades when, in 2014, he finally established a foothold through a $100,000 Park Pride grant to purchase two flood-prone properties in the Riverside neighborhood (with acquisition support from The Conservation Fund). This initial investment attracted public funding to purchase more land, thus establishing the foundation for the first park of the Riverwalk Atlanta concept!
A Conceptual Park Plan Emerges
Park Pride’s commitment to this project did not stop with the initial investment. Throughout 2021 and into 2022, Park Pride’s team of landscape architects worked with community and municipal partners to create a conceptual plan for this new, nine-acre park (referred to as the “Lower Paul Ave Park”) through our Park Visioning Program. After a six-month process of civic engagement, we published a community-supported vision plan which will be used as a fundraising tool and guide for the park’s buildout.
Public parks are not born out of isolation; they require the collaboration of multiple partners. Only by working together will we be able to achieve our vision for a healthier, greener, and more connected Atlanta where every neighborhood has access to a quality park. We look forward to continued collaboration with our partners to bring Riverwalk Atlanta to life!