Piedmont Park Expansion Construction Resumes
After a pause to raise more funds, work continues to improve park land located north of the Park Drive bridge and extends to Piedmont Avenue near Ansley Mall.
Lovers of Piedmont Park and followers of the stalled Phase One expansion of Midtown’s favorite green space will be happy to know that park construction has resumed in the northern end of the park near Ansley Mall.
“Phase One expansion continues in Piedmont Park in keeping with a promise of adding an additional 53 acres,” Piedmont Park Conservancy (PPC) President & CEO Yvette Bowden recently told local volunteer leaders at the Neighborhood Planning Unit-E meeting.
Twenty-six acres of the planned expansion were previously activated including the Legacy Fountain and the Promenade, the wetlands, a re-naturalized Clear Creek, basketball courts, bocce courts, the new aquatic center, the Greystone event facility, an expanded dog park and new lawns.
The current “North Piedmont Park” construction is taking place near the Piedmont Road and Monroe Drive intersection on 12.5 acres where previously new pathways and walking bridges had been installed.
Asphalt will now be laid down to provide a smooth walking surface and weather permitting, a June ribbon-cutting is planned where the park will open three new pedestrian entrances. Those will be at Piedmont and Westminster Drive, which will also have a paved turn-around area for buses, Monroe and Dutch Valley Road, and Monroe near Piedmont, where the former Agnes & Muriel's restaurant once sat.
Construction on Phase One began in 2007, but stalled in 2011 until addition financial resources could be raised. Overall, PPC has raised more than $40 million for Phase One. Most of the money came from private and corporate donors, including The Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, AT&T, The Coca-Cola Foundation and The Home Depot Foundation.
The city of Atlanta contributed almost $4.5 million, which paid to help to clean up Clear Creek and renovate the pool.
Aside from the financial considerations, expanding Piedmont Park by 40 percent hasn’t come easy. It’s meant in the "Piedmont Commons" area – just east of where construction is currently underway and where a future skate park will be built – excavating industrial waste, whacking away gnarly masses of invasive kudzu, breaking up concrete creek beds, shoring up erosion and helping build a new utility and irrigation infrastructure.
Once Phase One is complete, Phase Two will address the "Piedmont Gardens," the eastern portion of the park off Monroe, where a community garden and outdoor gardening classroom will be built.
The ability for PPC to re-launch construction was due in large part to the generosity of the Kendeda Fund’s challenge grant, which matched gifts to PPC on a $1 for $1 basis in 2012.
Still, additional funds are needed to ensure necessary maintenance of all the amenities and those wishing to support Piedmont Park operations can make contributions via PPC’s website at www.piedmontpark.org. According to the PPC, staff levels and operations budget have remained flat since 2011.
- Katjusa Cisar contributed to this story