Press Release provided by Park Pride
ATLANTA — Park Pride and its project partners have been selected by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) to receive a Great Urban Parks Campaign grant for $437,500 to lead an effort to build a new park in Atlanta’s English Avenue neighborhood. The Great Urban Parks Campaign is a collaborative initiative of NRPA and the American Planning Association (APA). Park Pride is one of four organizations awarded the grant, which supports the development of green infrastructure in America’s urban parks. Other green infrastructure projects were awarded in Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Denver.
The grant award issued to Park Pride will be used to convert a neglected space in English Avenue into a vibrant public park, known as Boone Park West (located at Joseph E. Boone Boulevard and Oliver Street), that engages the community in green infrastructure solutions, increases public access to recreational opportunities, provides jobs and training for residents, reduces negative impacts of polluted stormwater runoff, and restores the natural habitat for biodiversity.
Park Pride, in partnership with The Conservation Fund, will facilitate a community-directed visioning process to develop the park masterplan and ensure that the resulting greenspace meets the needs of the communities it serves. As the site’s land owner, The City of Atlanta’s Department of Parks and Recreation will play a critical role in development and coordination.
Other project partners include The City of Atlanta’s Office of Sustainability, the University Community Development Corporation and Chattahoochee Riverkeeper. The project team also includes a number of community based organizations, including the Proctor Creek Stewardship Council, the Community Improvement Association (CIA), ECO-Action, and the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance, as well as a workforce development component supported by the Greening Youth Foundation that will hire local youth from the surrounding community.
“Park Pride has assembled a dream team to make this park a reality,” said Michael Halicki, executive director with Park Pride. “Our diverse set of partners and unique community-based approach makes Boone Park West a catalyst for positive change that will extend far beyond the footprint of the park.”
“We are honored to support this exciting project, as it will help us showcase the environmental, social and economic benefits of green infrastructure in urban parks nationwide,” said Barbara Tulipane, NRPA President and CEO. “Undoubtedly, the project will make a positive difference in the community — providing additional green space for residents to connect with one another and nature.”
“Parks play an important role in creating communities of lasting value,” said Carol Rhea, FAICP, APA President. “Incorporating green infrastructure into new or existing parks will enhance each community, making them more sustainable, equitable, and resilient for current and future generations.”
Green infrastructure in parks provides an affordable and environmental friendly solution to many of the grey infrastructure challenges facing urban areas, while providing increased access to nature and outdoor recreation for residents.
“The City of Atlanta is proud to partner with Park Pride. The Great Urban Parks Campaign grant will help ensure green infrastructure and recreational opportunities are available in a Westside Atlanta neighborhood where few parks exist,” said Amy Phuong, Commissioner of the City of Atlanta Department of Parks and Recreation. “The NRPA’s Green Infrastructure Convening, which took place in Atlanta this year, provided a fantastic opportunity for the Department of Parks and Recreation to highlight our work to ensure all residents in Atlanta have access to greenspace, and I believe ultimately help keep Atlanta’s parks projects top of mind.”
The Great Urban Parks Campaign aims to improve environmental and social outcomes in underserved communities through green infrastructure projects in local parks. Additionally, the Campaign will result in the development of training resources for park, planning and green infrastructure professionals to improve equity through green infrastructure.
“Building on the successful community-driven model that created Lindsay Street Park and expanded Vine City Park, Boone Park West will become the third park in Atlanta that is part of the Parks With Purpose program,” said Shannon Lee, Conservation Associate from The Conservation Fund’s Georgia Office. “This initiative aims to create parks that provide layered benefits for local communities, including new green spaces, reduced impacts from stormwater runoff and workforce training opportunities for residents.”
Funding for the Great Urban Parks Campaign grant was provided by The JPB Foundation.
For more information about the Great Urban Parks Campaign, visit www.nrpa.org/
To learn more about the benefits of green infrastructure in urban parks, watch this video.
Park Pride is the Atlanta-based nonprofit that engages communities to activate the power of parks. Working with 90 local Friends of the Park groups, Park Pride provides leadership and services to help communities realize their dreams for neighborhood parks that support healthy people, strong neighborhoods, vibrant business districts, a robust economy and a healthy environment. Park Pride is active in greenspace advocacy and educating both civic leaders and the general public about the benefits of parks, and annually hosts the Parks and Greenspace Conference. Learn more about Park Pride atwww.parkpride.org.
The City of Atlanta Department of Parks and Recreation is committed to building strong communities and a vibrant economy by providing safe and exceptional parks, facilities, and programs. The Department of Parks and Recreation operates and maintains more than 400 parks and greenspaces. The city’s recreational and cultural facilities vary from small recreation centers to large cultural and unique amenities such as natatoriums, spray grounds and emerging sports courts. In January 2011 and in 2013, the department built upon earlier pilot projects to transform ten facilities into Centers of Hope. The city now operates 33 recreation centers, with 15 being Centers of Hope.
At The Conservation Fund, we make conservation work for America. By creating solutions that make environmental and economic sense, we are redefining conservation to demonstrate its essential role in our future prosperity. Top-ranked for efficiency and effectiveness, we have worked in all 50 states since 1985 to protect more than 7.5 million acres of land. www.conservationfund.org
The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing park, recreation and conservation efforts that enhance quality of life for all people. Through its network of more than 50,000 recreation and park professionals and citizens, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit www.NRPA.org. For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit www.parksandrecreation.org.
The American Planning Association is an independent, not-for-profit educational organization that provides leadership in the development of vital communities. APA and its professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners, are dedicated to advancing the art, science and profession of good planning — physical, economic and social — so as to create communities that offer better choices for where and how people work and live. Members of APA help create communities of lasting value and encourage civic leaders, business interests and citizens to play a meaningful role in creating communities that enrich people’s lives. APA has offices in Washington, D.C., and Chicago. For more information, visit www.planning.org.
The Mayor’s Office of Sustainability is focused on embedding sustainability best practices into Atlanta city government and across the community. Addressing sustainability of our cities is a complex undertaking, requiring an understanding and respect for the interconnected nature of environmental issues, and collaboration across all traditional jurisdictions, geographies and expertise. Meeting Atlanta’s sustainability goals requires complementary efforts at different scales, where everyone is relevant, everyone has a role and everyone has a responsibility to work towards the Atlanta we all want our children to inherit.
The Proctor Creek Stewardship Council is a community-based grassroots organization consisting of people living and working in the Proctor Creek watershed basin and partners working together for the restoration, preservation and protection of Proctor Creek and its communities. The Stewardship Council is made up of residents representing the entire watershed and is supported by partner organizations including: Community Improvement Association, ECO-Action and West Atlanta Watershed Alliance.
Chattahoochee Riverkeeper’s mission is to protect and preserve the Chattahoochee River, its lakes and tributaries for the people, fish and wildlife that depend upon it. For more information, visit www.chattahoochee.org.
The Greening Youth Foundation (GYF) is the leading youth serving organization in the United States focused on natural resource management careers for young people from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds. The GYF workforce development model helps youth participants develop soft skills such as dependability, punctuality, work site etiquette, financial literacy and facts driven problem solving.
The University Community Development Corporation (UCDC) is a not for profit community based corporation that has been the catalyst for developing sustainable communities in and around the Atlanta University Center (AUC). UCDC’s mission is to create safe, vibrant and healthy sustainable communities through economic and social development initiatives, and has positioned itself to provide support and services to the AUC member institutions and the surrounding community.
ECO-Action strengthens communities as they organize to confront and resolve environmental health threats. ECO-Action focuses on those with the fewest resources – people with limited formal education, women, children, and people of color. Eco-Actions work is based on the intersection of three things – threat to human health, environmental degradation and social justice.
Community Improvement Association is a community-based neighborhood environmental justice organization that helps to educate disadvantaged communities on environmental technologies, green jobs, and watershed management through educational outreach and clean up initiatives.
West Atlanta Watershed Alliance is a community-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life within the West Atlanta Watershed by protecting, preserving and restoring our community’s natural resources. WAWA represents predominately African-American neighborhoods in Northwest and Southwest Atlanta that are most inundated with environmental stressors, but are least represented at environmental decision-making tables.