Buckhead’s Atlanta Memorial Park is the third-largest park in Atlanta. It stretches across nearly 200 acres and includes three sections:
- The Passive Parklands where joggers take to the trails and families flock to the wonderful playground on Wesley Drive.
- Bitsy Grant Tennis Center has 13 clay courts and 10 hard courts that have been the site of numerous national tennis championships since it opened in 1952. (2125 Northside Drive)
- The Historic Bobby Jones Golf Course features 18 holes of fun golf and beautiful city skyline views (384 Woodward Way).
Running through the park is the beautiful Peachtree Creek. However, while many in the park’s neighborhood admire the space as a historical treasure, there’s no doubt this former Civil War battleground is in need of TLC. Many parts of the park are overgrown, underutilized, and not accessible to walkers. This hides the park’s beautiful creek and enormous potential. Fortunately, thanks to the Atlanta Memorial Park Conservancy, that potential won’t stay hidden for long.
Atlanta Memorial Park Conservancy’s newly appointed Executive Director, Catherine Spillman is very optimistic about the park’s restoration. This optimism has been fueled, in part by the overwhelming support of the Buckhead community. Spillman explains,
“We’ve had an overwhelming response from our neighbors because they see the need for a conservancy to look over Atlanta’s third largest park, which is Atlanta Memorial Park.”
Thus far, the park’s annual membership drive has raised almost half of its $359,000 goal. With this level of support, Spillman is confident Phase I of the two-phase restoration project will be underway by the beginning of 2015. Construction has already begun on a “beltline-style” pedestrian path along Northside Drive, which the city has fully funded.
Phase I will concentrate on basic restorations such as the removal of invasive plants, the enhancement of walkability on the park’s paths and trails as well as the restoration of landscape and stream management. The total cost of Phase I is expected to reach $2.5 million. Phase II will be far more substantial and include major renovations to both the Bitsy Grant Tennis Center and the Bobby Jones Golf Course. The massive improvements of Phase II are expected to cost anywhere from $13 to 15.5 million, but well worth the investment.
When Phase I and II are completed, the value of neighboring properties (Haynes Manor, Springlake, Memorial Park, and the others in close proximity) is expected to increase by 15%. While economic benefits are motivating, the health of the Atlanta people is a huge encouragement as well. “What we’re trying to do as a conservancy is bring attention to Atlanta Memorial Park so that we can partner with the city to improve this wonderful asset by improving the connectivity, so neighbors are able to go out and enjoy the park and enjoy it safely.” Spillman continues, “Access to parks is important because it improves the health of the people living in Atlanta.”
The total cost of Phase I and Phase II is projected to be $15 to 18 million. While Phase I is expected to begin in 2015, an estimated date of completion is not yet available.
To learn more about the wonderful things happening in Atlanta Memorial Park or to find out how you can contribute to the conservancy, visit their website.