Park Pride grants $800,000 to improve 15 parks in Atlanta and DeKalb

By Maria Saporta

Park Pride, a nonprofit founded in 1989 to advocate for Atlanta’s parks, has awarded $800,000 to 15 community groups to support capital park improvements in the City of Atlanta and DeKalb County.

It’s the most money that Park Pride has ever awarded in a single grant cycle in the history of the organization.

Since it began granting funds to community groups in 2004, Park Pride has awarded more than $3.6 million to help pay for new playgrounds, land acquisition, improved signage, new trails, exercise equipment and other amenities.

Oakland Cemetery

Gardens at Oakland Cemetery (Special: Historic Oakland Foundation)

“Great parks aren’t created in a vacuum,” said Michael Halicki, executive director of Park Pride. “Strong communities build great parks, and we see clear examples of this in our 2014 grant recipients.”

Award recipients receive matching funds through three distinct grants: 1. The Legacy Grants ($50,000 and more), funded by the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation;

  1. The Community Building Grants ($2,500-$50,000), funded by The Home Depot Foundation; and
  2. The Small Change Grants (up to $2,500), funded by the Cecil B. Day Foundation.

Allison Barnett, Park Pride’s associate director, said the funds from Park Pride’s donors support different Friends of the Park organizations and other community groups so that they are able to make “lasting changes in their neighborhoods” by improving their parks.

“We applaud the passion and dedication of community groups all across Atlanta and DeKalb that come together as a voice for parks, creating change in their neighborhoods at the grassroots level,” Halicki said. “United communities and well-used, well-loved parks go hand-in-hand.
Halicki added that the interdependence of healthy parks and strong communities will be the focus of the 2015 Parks and Greenspace Conference that will take place in March.”

The latest cycle of grants are as follows:

2014 Legacy Grants

Park Pride awarded Legacy Grants to six community groups. These grants are only available to groups within the City of Atlanta. Projects that will be funded include land acquisition, mitigating the damaging effects of stormwater runoff, building a boardwalk around a lake, and large scale renovations of park amenities.

Atlanta Memorial Park Conservancy – Atlanta Memorial Park

  • Friends of Adams Park – Adams Park
  • Friends of Reverend James Orange Park Reverend James Orange Park
  • Peachtree Heights East Neighborhood Association – Duck Pond Park
  • Liveable Buckhead, Inc. – PATH400
  • Riverwalk Atlanta, Inc. – Riverwalk Atlanta

2014 Community Building Grants

The Home Depot Foundation provides $150,000 in support to Park Pride’s Community Building Grants, which are available to community groups located in both the City of Atlanta and DeKalb County. Nine grants were awarded this cycle, ranging in size from $7,000 to $25,000, and include:

  • Friends of Blue Heron Nature Preserve – Blue Heron Nature Preserve, Atlanta
  • Friends of Central and Renaissance Parks – Central Park, Atlanta
  • Friends of Frazier-Rowe Park – Frazier-Rowe Park, DeKalb County
  • Global Growers Network – Forty Oaks Nature Preserve, DeKalb County
  • Friends of Lang-Carson Park – Manigault Street Playlot, Atlanta
  • Friends of Lillian Cooper Shepherd Park – Lillian Cooper Shepherd Park, Atlanta
  • Historic Oakland Foundation – Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta
  • HABESHA – Rosa Burney Park, Atlanta
  • Ansley Park Beautification Foundation – Winn Park, Atlanta

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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