Park Pride donates $625,000 in grants to 17 parks in Atlanta and DeKalb

By Maria Saporta

Park Pride is giving away a record of $625,000 in matching grants to 17 parks, the organization announced Wednesday morning.

It is the largest amount that that the nonprofit has ever given in one grant cycle, exceeding last year’s total by more than $75,000. Since it began its Grant Program in 2004, Park Pride has granted more than $2.8 million for playgrounds, land acquisition and other capital improvements to Friends of Park groups seeking to revitalize their community’s green spaces.

“The grants are only part of the story,” said Michael Halicki, Park Pride’s executive director. “Given the requirement for matching dollars to be raised locally, the actual impact on these parks is more than double the size of the grant. Working together with local communities and government partners, we are achieving results that could never be accomplished working in isolation.”

During the past nine years, the number of grants and the size of the awards have increased substantially.

Allison Barnett, Park Pride’s associate director, expressed appreciation of the financial backers of the organization’s Grant Program..

“We are truly grateful to the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, the Home Depot Foundation, and the Cecil B. Day Foundation for providing the funding that allows us to support the great work of these dedicated communities to improve their local parks,” Barnett said.

The four parks that received the largest awards plan for extensive park improvements were:

Little Nancy Creek Park (Atlanta, $100,000) will implement the third phase of the park’s master plan, which was created with community collaboration through Park Pride’s Visioning Program in 2008. This phase includes a pavilion, a gazebo overlooking the park’s playground and grading and drainage of the land to benefit the park’s community garden.

At Mountain Way Common (Atlanta, $100,000), Park Pride’s funds will transform an 11-acre plot into an urban park along PATH400. Phase 1 of the park’s visioning plan, the development of which also is being facilitated by Park Pride, includes the construction of a pedestrian foot bridge over Little Nancy Creek that will connect existing and future trails.

Southfork Conservancy (Atlanta, $92,250) will add interpretive and way-finding signs along the new Creekside Trail in northeast Atlanta. A field survey also will be conducted to determine how best to improve access to a connected network of public greenways.

Walker Park (Atlanta, $100,000) plans to use the funds to create a track around its playing field, install a fenced dog park, and update park amenities that will allow multiple groups to use the park simultaneously.

Additional grants have been awarded to the following parks listed in alphabetical order:

Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area (DeKalb County, $22,500),

Bessie Branham Park (Atlanta, $3,000),

Blue Heron Nature Preserve (Atlanta, $5,000),

Constitution Lakes Nature Preserve (DeKalb County, $10,000),

Delano Line Park (DeKalb County, $6,500),

Esther Peachy Lefevre Park (Atlanta, $26,000),

Jennie Drake Park (Atlanta, $14,000),

Kittredge Park (DeKalb County, $38,000),

LaVista Park (DeKalb County, $7,000),

Lindsay Street Park (Atlanta, $30,000),

Outdoor Activity Center (Atlanta, $28,000),

Sibley Park (Atlanta, $5,000) and

Springbrook Park (DeKalb County, $38,000).

Park Pride, founded in 1989, works with communities all over Atlanta and DeKalb to improve their parks. The nonprofit engages communities through volunteer projects, community gardens, community-led park redesigns and by receiving grants for their parks.

The organization also hosts the Annual Parks and Greenspace Conference, which will be held on Monday, March 31 2014. Park Pride is proud to recognize Cox Conserves / Cox Enterprises as its 25th Anniversary Sponsor. Learn more about Park Pride at www.parkpride.org.

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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