Atlanta abandoning road to provide land for long-awaited park in Vine City

By David Pendered

Atlanta is moving forward with plans to abandon a street in advance of construction of a long-awaited park, to be located near the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, that’s now named the Rodney Cook, Sr. Park at Historic Vine City. A public hearing on the abandonment is set for Tuesday.

Mims Park, trees

Park planners are to devise a space that includes stands of trees and the land under what now is Vine Street. City papers say the area is to be named the Rodney Cook, Sr. Park at Historic Vine City. Credit: David Pendered

The hearing is to be part of the regular meeting of the Atlanta City Council’s Utilities Committee. The meeting begins at 9:30 a.m. in Committee Room 1, in the Atlanta City Hall.

The city intends to abandon a section of Vine Street. The two-lane road runs through the center of a current greenspace that’s to be developed into a park.

The greenspace once was filled with houses that were damaged or destroyed in a catastrophic flood in 2002.

The city acquired the land and discussions about the planned park have remained ongoing. Comments on the park’s website refer to it as both Mims Park and the Rodney Cook, Sr. Park at Historic Vine City

Two descriptions are described in the legislation regarding the site that’s to be abandoned as a public right-of-way.

The legislation describes the site as Vine Street stretching between Tyler Street and Thurmond Street.

mims park, cook park

Atlanta intends to abandon the section of Vine Street, NW, marked by the red box. The land will be provided to the Rodney Cook, Sr. Park at Historic Vine City, according to pending legislation. Credit: Atlanta, David Pendered

The legal description of the proposed abandonment describes a slightly larger tract. The legal description says the site to be abandoned stretches from Thurmond Street to the, “southerly 60 foot right-of-way of Joseph E. Boone Boulevard. This version extends the road some distance to the north of the site as described by the legislation.

The site described by the legal description comprises 29,750.04 square feet, or 0.683 acres. The site described by the legislation does not describe the amount of land to be abandoned.

Either way, the city plans to abandon this portion of Vine Street as a public right-of-way. The site is to be turned over to the Department of Watershed Management.

Atlanta City Councilmember Ivory Lee Young Jr. introduced the legislation at the council’s Feb. 20 meeting. The supporting document, from the Department of Public Works, is dated Aug. 24, 2016.

Here’s how the legislation describes the project:

  • “WHEREAS, the City has determined that in the best interest of the public to facilitate construction ofthe Rodney Cook, Sr. Park at Historic Vine City (“Project”); and
  • “WHEREAS, the 16 acre site (“Site”) for the Project was once a residential neighborhood that was developed in one of the lowest topographic areas on the west side of Atlanta and flooded repeatedly; and
  • “WHEREAS, following the last flood event in 2002, the residential home owners were relocated and the Site became considered for a park with a storm water management facility that could improve the health of the greater Proctor Creek Watershed and could be a centerpiece for sustainable community revitalization; and
  • “WHEREAS, the Department of Public Works has purview over Vine Street N.W. between Tyler Street N.W. and Thurmond Street N.W. (“Property”); and

    Mims Park, map

    The area shaded in blue is the site of the planned park in Vine City. The Georgia Dome is located at the bottom right side of the map. File/Credit: wdanielanderson.wordpress.com

  • “WHEREAS, the Commissioner of the Department of Public Works has determined that the portions Property are no longer useful or necessary for the public’s use and convenience; and
  • “WHEREAS, the Department of Watershed Management wishes to enter upon the Property for the purpose of constructing a sewer capacity relief facility and a storm water management facility (“Watershed Project”) which will provide capacity to Atlanta’s combined sewer system, reduce neighborhood flooding, and improve water quality as a part of the Project; and
  • “WHEREAS, in order to facilitate the construction the Watershed Project, the Commissioner of the Department of Public Works recommends closing the portion of Vine Street N.W. between Tyler Street N.W. and Thurmond Street N.W.”

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow. David was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina and is married to a fifth-generation Atlantan.

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