Park Pride Supports People

The story of the Friends of Chapel Hill Park

On an evening back in 2010, a small group of Chapel Hill community members gathered in the living room of Ms. Linda Cotten Taylor. They had learned that Park Pride was extending services into DeKalb County—and they were excited for what that might mean for their park and community.

Ms. Linda Cotten Taylor, leader of the Friends of Chapel Hill Park in DeKalb County

“Community members were worried about the deterioration of Chapel Hill Park,” said Ms. Cotten Taylor. Back then, the park had no bathrooms, no grills, no place suitable for a picnic. The playground was withered with age, and the tennis and basketball courts were overrun with grass. “It became a haven for the undesirable. It wasn’t functional for families.”

But donors like you helped change that through your support of Park Pride programs and services.

“Park Pride’s biggest strength is mentoring. They support people.” ~ Ms. Cotten Taylor

The individuals who gathered in the living room that evening decided to take a stand for their park. They connected with Park Pride and formed the Friends of Chapel Hill Park with Ms. Cotten Taylor as their leader.

When you visit Chapel Hill Park today, Ms. Cotten Taylor will stress that you have endless options of free fun. You can enjoy a meandering walk around the lake or workout at the comprehensive fitness station. Families play at one of two playgrounds and grill at one of five picnic pads. You can find refuge in nature at the outdoor classroom or choose to fish along the water’s edge.

Outdoor classroom at Chapel Hill Park.

The Friends of Chapel Hill Park’s determination brought these changes to fruition, but Ms. Cotten Taylor credits much of their success to the guidance, networking and education provided by Park Pride’s Parks & Greenspace Conference, monthly Park Meetings and training workshops. There, park advocates learn from experts and each other to:

  • write grant requests for park improvements and about upcoming grant opportunities,
  • engage and retain community volunteers,
  • build relationships with elected officials,
  • create inviting and welcoming greenspaces for families,
  • and so much more.
Park leaders and advocates connect with and learn from each other at Park Pride’s annual Parks & Greenspace Conference.

In addition to the educational opportunities, the Friends of Chapel Hill Park have also benefited from:

  • multiple Park Pride matching grants which helped fund the installation of a new playground, the fitness station, several picnic pads, grills, and a fishing pier which is under construction on the park’s beautiful lake;
  • hundreds of volunteers taking on projects in the park, such as the construction of the outdoor classroom and planting of a pollinator garden, through Park Pride’s Volunteer Program;
  • and Park Pride’s Fiscal Partners Program, which handles the administrative duties of receiving park specific donations so that members of the Friends group can focus on what’s most important: engaging neighbors and families in community parks.

“Park Pride has made a huge difference in this park because now people have choices as to what they can do,” Ms. Cotten Taylor

It is an understatement to say that Ms. Cotten Taylor is thrilled with the transformation that the Friends of the Park group has made possible with Park Pride’s help. Any day of the week, any time of day, Chapel Hill Park bustles with activity. “They have weddings here, they have family reunions, they have employee picnics.”

The Friends of Chapel Hill Park are thrilled to have a pollinator garden in their park, installed with support through Park Pride’s Volunteer Program.

Gifts to Park Pride are vital to Friends of the Park members, like Ms. Cotten Taylor, across the city.

Please give now and help us support passionate people across Atlanta and DeKalb who are eager to create thriving parks for their families, neighbors, and their entire communities to enjoy.

Give today

Thank you,

Michael Halicki,
Executive Director

P.S. – Ms. Cotten Taylor asked that we share this personal message on her behalf:

Ms. Cotten Taylor (right) and her daughter Samantha (right) after winning Park Pride’s Inspiration Award in 2015 for her leadership at Chapel Hill Park.

I want to encourage people to get involved in their park. Make donating to Park Pride one of your priorities. Look at the work that Park Pride has done with Friends groups throughout the metropolitan Atlanta area, and consider the number of people touched and the differences made in their lives. Come and get involved – come to that workshop in the spring and attend the conference. And if you get the opportunity to come, you’ll see me—I’ll be at registration!

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