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English Avenue Community Celebrates a New Park!

From Park Pride’s 2020 Spring Newsletter.

On November 21, 2019, Park Pride, alongside the English Avenue community, the City of Atlanta, The Conservation Fund, the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, and nearly 40 additional partners and funders, celebrated the long-awaited opening of Kathryn Johnston Memorial Park! 

Nonprofit, government, and community partners officially opened Kathryn Johnston Memorial Park to the public with a celebratory ribbon cutting, November 2019. Photo by Marcia Brandes, Georgia Nature Photographers Association.

This new park represents an exciting milestone for a community that, just a few years ago, did not have a single park within the neighborhood. Kids didn’t have a safe place to play. No greenspace existed for community gatherings or picnics. On top of that, the neighborhood experienced devastating floods regularly.  

That used to be the story in the English Avenue community. But today, that story has changed.   

The third in a series of parks proposed in the Proctor Creek North Avenue Green Infrastructure Vision (Park Pride, 2010), Kathryn Johnston Memorial Park will manage up to 3.5 million gallons of rainwater per year through several green infrastructure amenities, mitigating the impact of flooding from stormwater runoff in the neighborhood.  

More importantly, however, this park will provide English Avenue children and adults with a safe place close to their homes to relax, exercise, play with their families, and meet their neighbors.  

Neighborhood children romp on the playground at the English Avenue community’s newest park, Kathryn Johnston Memorial Park. Photo by The Conservation Fund

The park includes a playground, fitness station, and an open field for soccer games, flying kites or holding community events. Specifically identified by the community through Park Pride’s 2016 Park Visioning process, these amenities will be enjoyed for years to come! 

“The kids now look forward to coming out and playing,” explained community member, Mr. Sims, “and being comfortable in their own environment instead of having to go somewhere else.” 

“Kathryn Johnston Memorial Park is a special place,” reflected John Dargle, Jr., Commissioner of Atlanta’s Department of Parks and Recreation.  “It is an example of the values of our parks and recreation system in social equity, environmental stewardship, and health and wellness.” 

District 3 Council Member Antonio Brown honored the park’s namesake. Kathryn Johnston was tragically killed by members of the Atlanta Police Department, a sacrifice that resulted in the repeal of a law that allowed for the arrest of citizens without “probable cause.” Her loss will be memorialized within the park and ensure that Atlantans continue to work towards the prevention of future tragedies. 

Speakers also remembered the late District 3 Council Member, Ivory Lee Young, Jr., who played a significant role in this park’s creation.  

District 3 Council Member, Ivory Lee Young, Jr. was commemorated at the ribbon cutting of KJMP for all his efforts in making the park a reality for the English Avenue Community. Photo by Marcia Brandes, Georgia Nature Photographers Association

Kathryn Johnston Memorial Park’s celebration was memorable for all who attended. Park Pride is proud to have played our role alongside so many to make this park a reality! 

Want to see more? Watch a great video highlighting the park’s transformation and ribbon-cutting celebration.

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