“Go out on a good note,” is sound political advice, and it’s something Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed seems to have taken to heart. In his final press conference on Friday, December 29, Mayor Reed made announcements that every Atlantan couldn’t help but be glad to hear.
First, Reed announced a $100 million plan to expand Piedmont Park. The City of Atlanta has signed letters of intent with two property owners to purchase the property located at the corner of Piedmont Road and Monroe Drive. The purchase of the land will enable the City to create an enhanced gateway entrance to the park, and the expansion will also include a connection to the Atlanta BeltLine, improved pedestrian trails, additional open greenspace and forested land. 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, will lead the philanthropic effort to 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 plans to leverage various sources, including but not limited to Park Impact Fees, TSPLOST funds and Watershed funds to fund the acquisition.
Mayor Reed also unveiled plans for Phase One of the future Westside Park at Bellwood Quarry, which will include an elaborate gateway entrance at the intersection of Johnson Road and Grove Park Place on the north side of the park. The park will also have a grand overlook area for views of the quarry-turned-reservoir. Visitors will be able to experience the quarry using ADA-accessible trails leading to the grand overlook.
Phase One of the $26.5 million project will also include trails and a pedestrian connection to and from the Proctor Creek Greenway. The Bellwood Quarry has been under construction since September 2016. The City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management has been working to transform the quarry into a two billion gallon emergency drinking water reservoir for the City that will increase the emergency water supply from three days to thirty days.
Conceptual renderings of the park projects are below.
Piedmont Park Expansion:
Bellwood Quarry Park: