Expanding the city’s greenspace was how Mayor Kasim Reed spent his final Friday as leader of the city, unveiling renderings for Westside Park at Bellwood Quarry and a $100 million expansion of Piedmont Park.
According to WABE, Reed announced that city officials agreed Thursday night to buy about 3.5 acres on the corner of Monroe Drive and Piedmont Avenue to expand Piedmont Park. The parcel of land is currently home to Hob Nob Neighborhood Tavern, Varuni Napoli Pizza and a Shell gas station.
The city will contribute $20 million to the initial acquisition. Carol Tomé, CFO of The Home Depot and a member of the Atlanta Committee for Progress, has volunteered to lead the philanthropic effort raise up to $80 million in private funds to acquire all the remaining property and fund the park design and construction.
An anonymous philanthropist contributed $2 million to support the initial $20 million acquisition. In addition to the gift, the City will leverage various sources, including but not limited to Park Impact Fees, TSPLOST funds and Watershed funds to fund the acquisition. The city will also take on the current leases and utilize the net operating income generated from those leases.
As the city moves forward with this project, the Department of Parks and Recreation will host a community engagement process to incorporate public feedback in the park design. The expansion project will include a connection to the Atlanta BeltLine, improved pedestrian trails and access to Piedmont Park, additional open greenspace and forested land.