Ansley Whipple, Woodruff Park Project Manager, Atlanta Downtown Improvement District
The Atlanta Downtown Improvement District (ADID) is embracing the spring season with the return of free community programs to Woodruff Park, plus the announcement of forthcoming capital improvements to Downtown’s central greenspace, supported by a Legacy Grant from Park Pride.
On weekdays from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., park visitors can enjoy Lunch in Woodruff in the café seating area adjacent to Auburn Avenue. Tables and chairs are strategically placed through the area to ensure compliance with social distancing measures, and all are encouraged to patronize Downtown’s small businesses before enjoying an al fresco meal in the park.
Additionally, free Saturday morning yoga classes will resume on the main lawn on May 15, thanks to a partnership with OnlYoga. Attendees are asked to bring their own face masks, mats, and water, and all who RSVP will receive a free treat from Mocha Pops at the end of class.
Both Lunch in Woodruff and yoga will continue through the end of the fall season.
Woodruff Park is also a recent recipient of a Legacy Grant from Park Pride in the amount of $66,000, to be matched by ADID. The grant will be used to fund the park’s Peachtree Accessibility Project, which aims to remove a deteriorating seat wall along Peachtree Street that creates a physical and visual barrier, inhibiting access to the interior of the park, including visitors in wheelchairs.
Removing this wall will create an opportunity to build a sloped pathway up to the lawn that can allow for controlled vehicular access, ADA accessibility, and will make executing events and programming for the park more seamless. Vehicular access into the lawn offers greater flexibility with the types of programs the park can offer, as well as reduce the time and cost for event setup and takedown. Further, a more open and accessible entrance along Peachtree Street will allow park patrons to easily cross-navigate the park.
With social and economic activities severely limited due to COVID-19, urban centers across the world have rediscovered the importance of public space as a critical element of civic infrastructure. People have flocked to parks to safely spend time outside of their homes, connect with nature and with their communities, and seek assistance for basic needs such as food and shelter.
A key strategic initiative of the Woodruff Park Strategic Plan and the newly launched City-wide Master Plan process is equity and inclusion. Greater accessibility helps create buy-in, ownership, and shared responsibility for the park. These critical physical upgrades will signal a much-needed sense of inclusion for current and potential park visitors.
Construction on the Peachtree Accessibility Project will break ground in January 2022 and is slated to be completed by summer 2022.
To learn more about Woodruff Park, including its calendar of events, visit www.WoodruffPark.com. Follow @WoodruffPark on Facebook and Instagram.