HARD WORK TAKES MANY HANDS
By George Dusenbury, Georgia State Director, The Trust for Public Land
2017 was a bit of a transitional year for The Trust for Public Land in Georgia. We spent a lot of time renewing ties with old acquaintances and building ties with new ones. As an organization, we have big dreams, and we know that we cannot make those dreams a reality all by ourselves. While the old saying is that many hands make light work, it is equally true that hard works takes many hands.
In Vine City and English Avenue, many hands came together to move forward Atlanta’s next great park. Working with residents, the City of Atlanta and some of the country’s leading thinkers, The Trust for Public Land came up with an innovative design for Cook Park. Atlanta’s generous philanthropic community committed $12.7 million to make Cook Park a reality. The Westside Future Fund ensured that Cook Park was integrated into its comprehensive vision for revitalizing the communities. Trees Atlanta will oversee tree planting in the park; The PATH Foundation will link Cook Park to Centennial Olympic Park and beyond; The Atlanta Police Foundation is working with us to ensure that the park will be safe as well as fun.
In 2018, we literally will build upon the foundation established in 2018. The City, working in concert with TPL, broke ground on the park last month. The park should be substantially complete when the City host the 2019 Super Bowl at Mercedes Benz Stadium – and open to the public soon thereafter.
Along the Chattahoochee, The Trust for Public Land is excited to working with a coalition of not-for-profit organizations too numerous to list. Equally important, the City of Atlanta and Cobb County are coming together with The Trust for Public Land and the Atlanta Regional Commission to create a common vision for the river. The banks of a river that long has divided Cobb and Atlanta soon will become common ground.
In 2018, we will embark on creating a vision for 100 miles of the Chattahoochee River – from Lake Lanier down to Chattahoochee Bend State Park – about 50 miles upstream and 50 miles downstream for that Cobb County-Atlanta border. On a smaller scale, we are working with the National Park Service and the Chattahoochee Parks Conservancy to create a master plan for the Chattahoochee National Recreation Area’s 83 miles of hiking trails.
This year, The Trust for Public Land also looks to formalize a relationship with the Georgia Trails Alliance to help host the 2019 Georgia Trails Summit. We are looking at opportunities to work with government and nonprofit partners to make our region more resilient. And perhaps most importantly, we are working with our partners The Conservation Fund, The Georgia Conservancy, the Georgia Wildlife Federation, the Nature Conservancy and Park Pride to create a dedicated funding source for land conservation and park improvement statewide.
That’s a lot of work that is going to take many hands. And while we have a great group of volunteers supporting our work, we welcome more hands. If you want to get involved in any of these exciting initiatives, reach out to us through our web site.