Park Pride has announced that $820,000 has been granted to 17 community groups in Atlanta and DeKalb to fund capital park improvements. To date, Park Pride has awarded over $4.8 million to projects that include new playgrounds, boardwalks and bridges, improved signage, new trails and exercise equipment, and more.
Park Pride introduced its matching grant programs in 2004, offering awards of varying amounts to groups seeking to revitalize their community greenspaces. Award recipients receive matching funds through three distinct grants: Legacy Grants (large grants of $50,000 and up), funded by the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation; Community Building Grants ($2,500-$50,000), funded by The Home Depot Foundation; and Small Change Grants (up to $2,500), funded by the Cecil B. Day Foundation.
“Due to the support of our funders, Park Pride and the Friends of the Park groups we serve are able to complete valuable and much needed park improvements for the greener good of our city,” Park Pride’s Associate Director Allison Barnett said. “They truly make a positive difference for the families and communities that enjoy greenspaces.”
“Friends of the Park groups recognize that great parks increase the quality of life in their neighborhoods,” said Ayanna Williams, Park Pride’s Director of Community Building and responsible for the Friends of the Park Program. “I’m proud of the amazing park improvements the Friends groups have accomplished with the support of Park Pride’s grants, improvements that may not have been possible otherwise.”
Park Pride awarded Legacy Grants to six community groups. These grants are only available to groups within the City of Atlanta.
- Atlanta Memorial Park Conservancy to replace the playground, which has been plagued by flooding and sewage spills, with a new community designed playground located in a more accessible location on higher ground.
- Blue Heron Nature Preserve for the expansion of its permeable trail system, the “Blueway,” that will highlight the rich habitats along Mill and Nancy Creeks and eventually connect with planned multi-use trails to Chastain Park and PATH400.
- The Friends of Lake Claire Park will oversee a playground renovation and build an ADA accessible overlook with shade structures to enjoy the view of the park.
- The Friends of Little Nancy Creek Park will move forward with the implementation of phase IV of their master plan, which includes a pavilion and seating for family and community gatherings, trash/recycling receptacles, beautification plantings and signage.
- South Fork Conservancy will construct a pedestrian bridge across the North Fork of Peachtree Creek, providing access to the South Fork Trail from PATH400, the Atlanta BeltLine as well as the sidewalks of Buckhead.
- The Friends of Southside Park will expand their natural surface multi-use trails including a bridge and boardwalk spanning an environmentally sensitive creek and floodplain – enhancing visitor access to the forested areas of the park and encouraging bicycling, walking or running.
Community Building Grants
The Home Depot Foundation provides $200,000 in support to Park Pride’s Community Building Grants, which are available to community groups located in both the City of Atlanta and DeKalb County.
- The Friends of Bitsy Grant Tennis will construct a courtside deck at the tennis center for viewers to comfortably enjoy watching matches.
- The Friends of Briarlake Forest Park will add amenities including picnic tables, benches, and trail signs, and will plant more native species throughout the greenspace.
- The Friends of Henderson Park will re-design the park’s trail system, implement erosion control measures, and add new signage and provide stepping-stones at creek crossings.
- Historic 4th Ward Park Conservancy will conduct a comprehensive planting and rejuvenation of several landscape beds in alignment with the park’s original master plan.
- The Friends of Jennie Drake Park will continue to work towards the fulfillment of their master plan, installing a soft-surface path, distance markers, and dog-waste stations, and creating designated bird-watching areas.
- The Friends of Johns Homestead will construct a boardwalk over a creek that had previously rendered a large portion of the park inaccessible.
- The Friends of Peachtree Park will benefit from a new access point to the nature trail, addition of benches and exercise stations encouraging greater use from the surrounding communities.
Small Change Grants
With the support of the Cecil B. Day Foundation, Park Pride’s Small Change Grants fund small improvements that have big impacts on park beautification.
- The Friends of Mattie Freeland Park will replace existing wooden park benches with new tables for neighbors to enjoy at cookouts and community events.
- Chattahoochee Now will install two benches at Standing Peachtree Park so that visitors can sit and enjoy the view of the Chattahoochee River. A new interpretive sign honoring the historic significance of the site and importance of the river will also be installed.
- Underwood Hills Park Teen Committee will install exercise equipment to attract adults and teens into the park as an additional health-focused amenity.
- The Friends of DeKalb-Memorial Park will purchase fruit trees to be planted and maintained by community volunteers in an effort to expand the existing fruit orchard in the park.
To learn more about Park Pride grants, visit parkpride.org.
Pollinators in Parks program gets grant
While Park Pride regularly awards grants to community park projects, it was the nonprofit is also the recipient of a $60,000 grant from The Home Depot Foundation for the “Pollinators in Parks” pilot initiative to increase the presence and impact of pollinator gardens in five Atlanta parks.
Through this grant, Park Pride and the Atlanta Botanical Garden hope to improve the city’s long-term biodiversity, ecological health and sustainability.
“In urban environments, community gardens represent little green islands for insect pollinators, like bees and butterflies, which are keystone species in food webs,” explained Melina Lozano Durán, Pollinator Garden Coordinator with the Atlanta Botanical Garden. “Pollinator gardens are not only necessary to help natural ecosystems and their plant and animal communities to thrive within cities, but they also nurture our connection to nature.”
The five parks selected to be part of the “Pollinators in Parks” pilot project include: Blue Heron Nature Preserve (Buckhead), Four Corners Park (South Atlanta), Gilliam Park (East Atlanta), Grove Park (West Atlanta) and Welch Street Park (Southwest Atlanta).