Atlanta media got a tour and update of the former Bellwood Quarry site, which will is being transformed into the city’s new reservoir and a giant 280-acre park connected to the Atlanta BeltLine.
Located about a mile west of Midtown, the old granite quarry site has been drained of its shimmery blue water as a giant boring machine inches toward the Chattahoochee River, which will eventually fill the reservoir with 2 billion gallons of water.
The future Westside Reservoir Park will include a 4,000 square foot grand overlook spot with views of the reservoir and paths to the Beltline. From the overlook, visitors will be able to appreciate the full scope of the quarry, the majesty of its rocky walls, and the city skyline looming on the horizon.
“We are very ambitious over here” said Amy Phuong, Commissioner of the Atlanta Parks & Recreation Department, during the Sept. 7 tour. “As we grow to 1.2 million residents, how do we connect folks to nature?”
The park, which is set to be developed in phases, has an initial opening date set for 2019. Their final plans will incorporate an upper and lower meadow, and the department plans to use community feedback as they develop the park. For now, issues of transportation, safety, and funds for development are at the forefront of the planners’ minds.
“We want people to have their own experiences,” said Phuong, noting that engaging with the community is crucial to creating a beneficial park for those who frequent it.
Beyond preparing the area for visitors, the department has also enlisted the help of arborists to establish which trees are native species and which are invasive. Everything – from the layout of the paths to the designs of the gates – will be thoughtfully curated in an attempt to infuse art and nature in practical ways throughout the property.