Downtown Atlanta is in the early stages of what promises to be a dramatic rejuvenation from the transformation of Underground Atlanta to the filling in the subterranean parking lot called The Gulch with new development – maybe even Amazon’s touted new headquarters.
But right now, it’s a series of small touches that are adding vibrancy and amenities to Downtown, specifically at Woodruff Park and the busy Five Points MARTA station.
Last month, Woodruff Park celebrated the new amenities provided through a Southwest Airlines Heart of the Community grant. The southwest corner of the park now includes movable tables, chairs and umbrellas, planters, and updated landscaping.
The focal point of park improvements is the Woodruff Park Game Cart, a brightly-colored mobile activity kiosk filled with recreational supplies, from chess sets and board games to whiffle ball and Frisbees. Park staff, recreation interns, and local volunteers maintain the Game Cart’s inventory and assist park visitors with checking out supplies to be used in the gaming area on the gazebo or on the park’s main lawn.
The Atlanta Downtown Improvement District also provided additional staffing support to maintain the park’s day-to-day operations and programming by hiring Ansley Whipple, the Woodruff Park Project Manager, this past spring. Since coming aboard, Whipple has revitalized the park’s free community programs and community partnerships, from the Summer in Woodruff series to the Solar Eclipse Party co-hosted with the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System. For more about programming in the park, visit WoodruffPark.com.
Just down the street, an effort to soften the monolithic, concrete bunker of the Five Points MARTA station continues with the creation of an eye-catching new mural by artist Ryan Coleman. The 600-foot long mural “Don’t Forget To Dream” brings an energetic pop of color to the acres of grey.
Coleman said he wanted to create a “feeling of optimism” with the mural, which utilizes elements of abstract painting and vintage animation. “I wanted the mural to be uplifting, thought-provoking and whimsical,” Coleman said.
The mural, selected from an open call by Central Atlanta Progress and MARTA, took five weeks to complete. Coleman said interacting with commuters was a highlight of the process. Some liked the mural, some didn’t.
“You can’t please everybody, and that’s fine. I got tremendous response daily from people who would stop and ask questions about the mural. Some were complimentary, some were inquisitive,” Coleman said.
Revitalizing the Five Points MARTA station is one of the main goals of the larger Downtown Atlanta Master Plan, which would see greenspace on top and around the station, decorative lighting that indicates when trains are arriving, retail and art space. You can find out more about the Downtown Atlanta Master Plan at plandowntownatl.com.