The Imperative of Parks
For a quarter of a century, an indispensable Atlanta organization has championed the proliferation of parks. The nonprofit Park Pride orchestrates greenspace cleanup, planting, workshops, planning, maintenance, and much more. And it has always invoked the same reasons put forth more than 100 years ago by urban planners: parks promote physical and mental health and strengthen social bonds.
In Druid Hills, Park Pride first made its mark in 1995 when it helped develop a master plan for the Olmsted Linear Park before the formation of the Olmsted Linear Park Alliance [OLPA]. The Druid Hills Civic Association’s major financial support helped launch OLPA’s effort to rehabilitate the park which was led by the unsinkable Sally Harbaugh.
Rutledge and Burbanck Parks, also in Druid Hills, relied on Park Pride for “visioning,” funding, and implementation, noted associate director Allison Barnett recently. “We are a bottom-up organization,” she said. “We support community initiatives and structure partnerships between neighborhood groups and corporations that provide funding and volunteers.”
Through Park Pride, the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, the Home Depot Foundation, and the Cecil B. Day Foundation offer park improvement grants that totaled $625,000 in 2013. Also last year, Park Pride worked with 87 “Friends of the Park” groups that seek to enhance the greenspace in their neighborhoods… not to mention coordinating 17,000 (largely corporate) volunteer hours.
On September 18, Park Pride will celebrate its 25 years with “The Picnic for Parks” in the Historic Fourth Ward Park. To learn more about the Picnic, Adopt-a-Park, Friends of the Park, Community Gardens, and Park Pride’s other programs, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.