The City of Atlanta’s long-held goal of better connecting residents with a revitalized but underappreciated natural waterway has taken a step forward this month.
Mayor Andre Dickens’ office says the city has acquired roughly 9 acres in Riverside to create Atlanta’s first park with direct access to the Chattahoochee River. The deal closed Friday and includes 17 greenspace properties—some of which were donated.
The Northwest Atlanta greenspace, named Lower Paul Park for an adjacent street, is positioned between Riverside homes, Riverwalk Atlanta land cleared by volunteers, a cement plant, and active rail lines that currently separate it from hiking trails and the river.
Designs for the park are still being hashed out, as led by nonprofit Park Pride, but key components are expected to include a trail with direct river access and a connection to the PATH Foundation’s Whetstone Creek multi-use trail.
The land purchase provides a needed park for Riverside and other communities today “while preserving beautiful greenspace for future generations,” as Dickens stated in a press release.
The Conservation Fund and Park Pride—two organizations folded into the mayor’s new Greenspace Advisory Council—partnered in the park deal with outside groups such as Georgia Power, which donated three parcels. (Riverwalk Atlanta also donated land.) Stacy Funderburke, Regional Counsel and Georgia and Alabama Associate State Director, said the assemblage was a five-year process.
Last year, the Atlanta City Council okayed the purchase of 15 of the Lower Paul Park parcels. Park Pride and EPA/Brownfield grants provided additional funding. The overall cost of the purchase wasn’t specified—nor was a timeline for the park’s creation.
More broadly speaking, Lower Paul Park is part of a regional effort called Chattahoochee Riverlands that’s striving to better connect communities to the mighty river from Buford Dam in Gwinnett County down to Bend State Park in Coweta County. Those plans call for an uninterrupted, multimodal trail stretching for 125 miles.
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