Historic Fourth Ward Park located in Atlanta, GA has been named a “Frontline Park” by the national urban park advocacy organization City Parks Alliance.
Each month, City Parks Alliance recognizes a “Frontline Park” to promote and highlight inspiring examples of urban park excellence, innovation, and stewardship across the country. The program also seeks to highlight examples of the challenges facing our cities’ parks as a result of shrinking municipal budgets, land use pressures, and urban neighborhood decay.
“We selected Historic Fourth Ward Park for recognition because it exemplifies the power of partnerships to create and maintain urban parks that build community and make our cities sustainable and vibrant,” said Catherine Nagel, Executive Director, City Parks Alliance. “We hope that, by shining the spotlight on this park, we can raise awareness about both the necessity and the promise of these kinds of partnerships to spur investment in our nation’s urban parks.”
Atlanta’s Historic Fourth Ward Park has quickly become a symbol of the city’s changing downtown, and is now a major amenity as part of the Atlanta BeltLine. Formerly a flood-prone brownfield dotted with abandoned warehouses and parking lots, this 17-acre park serves as a storm water retention facility, event space, and community greenspace for the surrounding neighborhoods that includes two playgrounds and the City’s first public skate park.
The park opened in 2011 as a result of years of hard work and partnerships between citizen activists, public officials, property owners and business leaders, The Trust for Public Land, the Atlanta BeltLine, and the City of Atlanta. Rather than develop the area with a storm water management building, storm water activists convened in 2003 and developed a concept plan that featured a 35-acre park with a sustainable storm water detention facility as a central feature. The Trust for Public Land then secured land parcels that would be crucial to the development of a new park. Old Fourth Ward neighborhood residents and business owners formed the Park Area Coalition, which has since evolved into the Historic Fourth Ward Park Conservancy. Partners broke ground on the park in 2008. Atlanta BeltLine Partnership Capital
Campaign, the Department of Watershed Management, Park Improvement Bonds and the Atlanta BeltLine Tax Allocation District, Wells Fargo, Georgia Power and BB&T all contributed land for the park. The storm water retention lake, the park’s most visible and recognizable feature, was built through a partnership between Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. and the Department of Watershed Management, saving the city more than $15 million from the original plans to build a traditional storm water facility
“We are honored that Historic Fourth Ward Park was selected for recognition as a ‘Frontline Park’,” said Paul Morris, President and CEO, Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. “This park demonstrates how strong community engagement and public-private partnerships can deliver a triple bottom line: a vibrant new park for the public, new economic development, and state-of-the-art storm water management.”
Historic Fourth Ward Park is being featured on CPA’s website, www.cityparksalliance.org during the month of September.
The “Frontline Parks” program is made possible with generous support from DuMor, Inc. (www.dumor.com) and PlayCore (www.playcore.com).
About City Parks Alliance
City Parks Alliance is the only independent, nationwide membership organization solely dedicated to urban parks. It leads and serves a community of diverse organizations, championing high quality urban parks throughout the nation. CPA’s vision is that everyone in urban America will have access to parks and green spaces that are clean, safe and vibrant.