Woodruff Park Enhances Peachtree Street’s Vibrancy
By A.J. Robinson, President, Central Atlanta Progress and the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District
Amidst bustling office towers, hotels, and retail establishments, public parks and greenspaces along Peachtree Street offer welcomed opportunities for respite and recreation.
In Downtown, the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District (ADID) has focused on enhancing Woodruff Park, located at the intersection of Peachtree and Auburn Avenue. Through a 2008 Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Atlanta, ADID maintains stewardship of Woodruff Park and is responsible for the park’s daily upkeep and programming, as well as securing and implementing funding for future development.
ADID is particularly proud of the revitalization the park has experienced in the past three years, thanks to two Heart of the Community grants and technical guidance from Project for Public Spaces. With the initial grant awarded in 2016, ADID was able to hire a new Woodruff Park Project Manager, reconvene the park’s Advisory Committee, update the park’s visual identity and furniture, breathe new life into the programming calendar, and install a mobile activity kiosk called the Game Cart.
An additional grant from in 2018 allowed ADID to focus more intently on social inclusion objectives. Partnering with HOPE Atlanta, a Downtown social service agency, a dedicated social worker has focused outreach efforts to those in need within the park’s six acres, with great success—including placing over 100 park users into permanent housing since September 2018.
Many ideas conceived in community engagement or internal brainstorming sessions have bloomed into realities for the park, especially the free programs offered to the community. Weekly yoga classes have grown from a handful of pioneers to upwards of 50 participants each Saturday, and beloved events like Doggy Con are quickly becoming annual traditions.
While the park is typically less active during the winter months, ADID is excited to offer a new, creative take on its winter lighting activation. Curated by Dashboard and with the support of Delta Air Lines and NCR Corporation, Woodruff Park will debut PRISM: Winter Lights at an opening celebration on Saturday, December 7. Expect to see imaginative, light-based installations created by artists from around the country placed throughout the park’s footprint, plus complementary artwork on the Arts & Entertainment Atlanta digital sign at 235 Peachtree Street. PRISM will remain free and open to the public through February 2020.
The community is invited back on Monday, December 9 for the annual Caroling in the Park event, where the Georgia State University Choral Union and the Atlanta Homeward Choir will sing carols. Georgia’s Own Credit Union will recognize Woodruff Park case worker Janika Robinson and her clients who have been permanently housed, and they will receive holiday gifts as part of its “85 Acts of Kindness” initiative. There will also be free mugs given to the first 150 guests, plus a hot chocolate bar and pictures with Santa for all to enjoy.
With a new year on the horizon, stay engaged with the park by following @woodruffpark on social media and by visiting www.woodruffpark.com. We are a vital, vibrant part of Atlanta’s Peachtree Street experience.
Featured image from Woodruff Park’s 2019 Doggy Con event