Oakland Cemetery
Gardens at Oakland Cemetery (Special: Historic Oakland Cemetery)

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, executive editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state. From 2008 to 2020, she wrote weekly columns...

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  1. As a long time supporter of Park Pride and a neighbor of Midway Woods on Deerwood Drive, I appreciate Park Pride efforts over the years in helping clean out invasive species and ivy on the trees in Dearborn Park.  An unnamed organization is scheduled to arrive at 9am Saturday, February 14 that will include 150 individuals that are not from our neighborhood for this event. My concern is that again, against neighbor wishes, you are allowing 150 individuals to come on our small residential street.  This is a project that could be completed by county employees over a Saturday with the help from a few neighbors or be moved to a more appropriate area within Dearborn Park.
    We are not against the project, only that this type of event should be completed within the park and not along the greenspace across from residential properties.  There was a petition that asked do you want invasive species cleared out of the park as an indicator of the support for the project. However, that is obviously a misleading question. We originally asked that the event be moved just a few feet away to the recently cleared area between Chevelle Road and Oldfield Drive, which was denied by Park Pride and DP&R.
    This is the second time in 3 years that an event has been held on our block. When we asked Park Pride and DeKalb County Parks & Rec if there were other areas within DeKalb County that could use such close scrutiny, we were given 5 other DeKalb parks.
    I repeat, we are not against the end results, just the efforts used. 
    If this event is not moved we ask for the following condition:
    Leave a 15″ buffer along the creek. There is severe erosion now and we do not want to damage this further.Leave some foliage on the ground. From the efforts over the last 5 years, when contests were held and untrained volunteers removed foliage, there are areas within the greenspace which still haven’t grown back and there are huge mud puddles after even a light rain.  The trees that are going to be planted will be planted on the south end as promised in 2012.Please keep the noise to a minimum as we have several neighbors who work 2nd and 3rd shift.A promise that trees be planted within the area within the next 3 years. We will even spearhead an effort to pay for the trees or get a grant if the County will plant them.Use organizations that are relevant to the community where they are cleaning up. 1 person from Midway Woods has signed up and 1 from Atlanta is a maybe, which means 148 people will be from outside our community.This is the 2nd event held within the last 3 years, please spread some of the this good fortune to other areas of DeKalb County.Do not bring 10 heavy equipment trucks with county employees sitting around for hours doing nothing as was the case in 2012. I own several properties throughout DeKalb and wish my tax dollars to be used more wisely as I am a strong advocate against annexation and incorporations.
    We’ve heard nothing from DeKalb County Parks & Rec or Park Pride on our request

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