Mattie Freeland Park

Building Community in English Avenue.

History of Mattie Freeland Park

Despite being less than a mile from downtown, the English Avenue neighborhood on Atlanta’s Westside has suffered from decades of disinvestment and numerous impacts related to systemic poverty and neglect.

Ms. Mattie Freeland

Ms. Mattie Freeland lived across from a lot filled with abandoned vehicles—an eye sore, an environmental nuisance, an economic hinderance, and a physical danger to the children of the neighborhood. She dreamed of one day turning this into a clean, safe, beautiful space for the community to gather, grow food, and play.

Since Ms. Mattie’s death in 2008, neighbors have worked together to build a community garden and a small greenspace, naming it after their beloved matriarch. The space came to life with children playing pick-up games of football and residents gathering around a homemade screen and borrowed projector for neighborhood movie nights. A swing set, picnic tables, and grilling area emerged as residents cleared weeds and planted trees. Neighbors painted murals on the abandoned buildings surrounding the space, and along the fence line, creating a place of positive healing and community pride.

Park Visioning with Park Pride

With the hope of turning this grassroots greenspace into an official park, the Friends of Mattie Freeland Park applied to participate in the Park Visioning Program in 2015.

2015 conceptual park vision. Click to view the completed plan.

Working with Park Pride’s team of professional landscape architects, a community-driven conceptual park master plan was created that reflected the hopes of neighbors for their future greenspace. A stakeholder committee of eight neighbors worked with Park Pride to engage and gather community input through a series of public meetings and a door-to-door park survey. For this neighborhood park, like all neighborhood parks, making sure each and every voice was heard was a top priority!

In 2018, English Avenue neighbors again worked with the Park Pride team to revise the vision plan, bringing the community’s dreams one step closer to fruition.

 

Phase I Park Development

Phase I development of Mattie Freeland Park is currently underway and is expected to open to the public in Summer 2021.

The final public engagement/input meeting was combined with a community BBQ.

With a level multi-use playing field, a picnic and grilling area, and a community-led art installation, the neighborhood is about to have an official park that serves the needs of the community and represents Ms. Mattie’s legacy!

Mattie Freeland Park rendering.

Mattie Freeland Park Timeline and Updates: