At the Freedom Park Conservancy Annual meeting held the Second Tuesday of November 2013, the new slate of Officers were elected for 2014. New Officers and Committee Chairs for 2014:
2014 Freedom Park Conservancy Executive Directors
President: David Hamilton
Vice President: Edward Holifield
Vice President: Ed Dreistadt
Secretary: William ‘Billy’ Davis
Treasurer: Carol Gregory
2014 Committee Chairs
Park Improvement: Jay Wozniak
PR/Communications: Stephanie Saxon
Nominating Committee: Edward Holifield
Congratulations to all! 2014 looks to be a big year for Freedom Park as the Board begins in earnest the effort to update the park master plan which is long overdue for a refresh. The board also continues its charge to protect the integrity of the park boundary and the lease between GDOT and the City, which is unique to Freedom Park, in the City of Atlanta. In 2013 the FPC Board successfully worked with the Parks Department and Atlanta Public Schools to establish a City resolution for the donation, by APS, of the forthcoming parking lot in Freedom Park adjacent to Mary Lin Elementary School. This resolution is a necessary recognition of the process by which the parking lot was established and most importantly it protects the integrity of the 99 year lease for Freedom Park. Not familiar with the unique history of this great park? Check out this mini documentary.
The Conservancy set up in the park over the weekend to spread the good word about us and to meet and hear from park users – tanks to all who stopped by; we hope to see you showing off your FPC stickers with pride. If you didn’t see us this weekend, we’ll be out again soon. In the meantime feel free to sign-up for our email list – we will send alerts for happenings in the park, including volunteer days, and other worthy news updates.
Thank you to the volunteers that spent hours Saturday morning working and weeding the Freedom Park Bird and Butterfly Garden! Stop by and see the garden at the corner of North Ave and Candler Park Dr just down the hill from Mary Lin Elementary.
Lauren Sanoval, Carol Gregory, Meta Larrson, and Carol Vanderschauf.
Allen (right) and friends kayak the Georgia coast.
Allen Bradley would testify under oath to the greatness of the great outdoors. Much of his leisure time is devoted to communing with it: hiking, camping, canoeing. He has even negotiated the Appalachian Trail, the Georgia and Smokey Mountains National Park portions.
In November, the corporate tax attorney with Stites & Harbinson and three buddies took on a demanding test of nature—paddling along the entire Georgia coast in sea kayaks. Bradley joined Doug Petterson, James Marlow and Phillip Hodges in Hilton Head, S.C., and for the next eight days covered 150 watery miles to Amelia Island, Fla., traveling dawn to dusk…. read the rest of the story on the Daily Report and go here for more photos from the trip.
All are invited to the dedication of the Tree of Life & Kan by Yvonne Domenge March 20, 2013 at 4pm in Freedom Park. The sculpture is at the intersection of North Ave and Oakdale Rd. Keynote speakers will include Mayor Kasim Reed, Councolmembers Kwanza Hall and Alex Wan, Director of Cultural Affairs Camille Russell Love and the artist Yvonne Domenge. There will also be a performance by Blake Dalton/CORE dance of Corazon Abriendo – this performance is based in Mayan concepts as is Tree of Life and Kan sculpture.
The artist will also give an exclusive talk about the sculpture beginning at 6pm at the High Museum of Art – the talk is free and open to the public.
The Community Center used for today’s meeting used to be the American Legion Hall. The property was carved out of Piedmont Park and given to the American Legion when the park was being built. The city purchased it in 1998 using a partial grant from the Woodruff Foundation. Among other things, the Hall used to be the venue for Drag Bingo and reportedly had slot machines in the back. The American Legion requested than an element from the Hall be preserved and the flagpole out front is the relic from the Legion Hall preserved to commemorate the building’s past. The American Legion has a memorial service on the site every year, replacing the flag with a new one. They recently added a gold eagle to the top of the pole. The original brass American Legion sign is at its base.
April is Earth Month, April 22nd is Earth Day, which means a lot of volunteers for Piedmont and other parks. EarthShare’s Corporate Green Day Challenge is an excellent opportunity to get groups of 50 – 100 people to assist in park cleanup and mulching efforts. Contact John@parkpride.org to coordinate with the city on available volunteers. John can also do site visits and assist with identifying appropriate tasks.
Piedmont Park is experiencing ongoing attendance growth. Current estimated attendance is 3 million people per year. 70% of city permitted events occur in the park, including all Class A events. The park is expecting an increase of 100,000 visitors in 2013 because of the popularity of the Beltline connection to O4W Park. A pilot bike lane is being put in as a striped lane along 10th Street so bikers have a safe way to get all the way to the Ansley Shopping Center. The Dog Park has been driving incremental park attendance also.
2012 saw a total of 10,000 volunteer hours at Piedmont Park. In addition to accomplishing tasks in the park, these hours are also valued at $20.78 per hour and used for matching grants. Piedmont Park uses a lot of court-ordered volunteers who need to perform community service, typically 20 to 100 hours. Interns are also used extensively. Piedmont Park has a relationship with Emory University and is able to leverage talent in marketing, special events and horticulture through the program. Compensation is usually in the form of free pool and parking passes. There are only 28 full-time staff people, which is down from historic staffing levels even though the park now has more acreage. The staff needed to run and maintain the park is made up in volunteers. Piedmont Park has more brick and mortar facilities than any other park in the area which both gives the park more revenue opportunities and more maintenance requirements.
Permitting rests with the Office of the Mayor with some input from the Parks Department. The City sends permit applications to Piedmont Park as a courtesy and the park reviews them to make sure that requirements are being met, especially with new promoters. Parks don’t get compensated for events, so there is some frustration with staff time and facility wear and tear. The city does not conduct review meetings anymore and does not have a budget to oversee events, so these functions now fall to the parks. Piedmont Park has added a weekend operations manager to make sure events are within compliance.
Setup and striking an event are the critical time for park oversight. Most damage happens when an event is struck, with less care and respect being shown by vendors. Currently no bond or security deposit is required, so parks end up responsible for damage. More film crews are using parks and they also can cause damage and move on.
An event at Piedmont Park for 100,000 people, giving control over an area of the park for three days, often up to 150 acres, is only $10,000, which does not go to support the park.
The City allows pickup sports in parks. League play is different and requires a permit.
Green spaces becoming ad hoc athletic fields are a maintenance problem. Cleats tear up turf, especially if the ground is wet.
Piedmont Park has put in a flagging system, with flag poles in areas used for sports. A red flag denotes that the field is closed, usually because of weather/wet ground. Cleats are also forbidden unless a permit has been granted.
This issue needs to be addressed with the City. Using the parks for athletics should be encouraged, but damage to green spaces also needs to be minimized.
This year’s conference is March 25th at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, with workshops available on the 23rd and 24th. Registration closes soon.
Big Belly Solar Trash Compactors
The City is using grant money to replace standard trash receptacles with Big Belly Solar Trash Compactors. These solve a theft problem with the standard receptacles and provide better trash control/removal.
Maintenance versus traditional trash receptacle is an issue, but the City has a robust maintenance program and they have worked well elsewhere.
Old 4th Ward Park has several of the units and the only problem is that they aren’t as numerous as the traditional trash cans were. People don’t always seem willing to take the few extra steps to get to them.
The Ribbon Run 5k – Benefitting the Atlanta Dream Center
Start: Saturday, May 4, 2013 @ 8:00 AM
Registration Closing Date
Thursday, May 2, 2013 @ 11:59 PM PST
What if by running a race, you could carry someone’s dream? Get ready for the most meaningful 5k you might ever meet – The Ribbon Run. Before the race, each runner will receive a ribbon with the dream of a neighborhood child or family written on it. After you run, tie your ribbon to a giant dreamcatcher behind the finish line. Congratulations, you’ve carried someone’s dream!!
In the heart of the Old Fourth Ward, the Atlanta Dream Center serves some of Atlanta’s neediest people. The folks at the Dream Center hear the hopes and dreams of O4W children every day, and work hard to make them come true. Now you’ve got a chance to help! Change someone else’s life. Change the neighborhood. Stretch yourself. And while you’re at it, run an awesome race. See you May 4th.
Last night during our regular monthly meeting of the Freedom Park Conservancy we welcomed Zone Commander Major Keith Meadows and Chief Finley from APD Zone 6 to get an update on the Atlanta Police Department efforts to increase police patrols in city parks, particularly Freedom Park and the Atlanta BeltLine. You may be aware that it was announced in June of 2012 that APD received a $1.8 million grant to hire 15 new officers to staff the Path Patrol, or as we heard it called tonight, the Park Patrol. The 2012 press release can be seen here. The good news is the force is coming soon. We should expect to see the 15 new officers out and in the parks by June of this year. Ultimately the force is to increase to 20 officers. In addition to the new officers APD will be in the parks on mounted patrol – maybe you have seen the officers on horses in the park or on the new BeltLine Eastside Trail, and they will be receiving an electric vehicle that they can use to patrol paths and parks. All of this is good news for security in and around our parks, and we will be sure to share more information as we get updates from APD.
The City of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs is pleased to announce the unveiling of Yvonne Domenge’s monumental scale artwork “The Tree of Life” at Atlanta’s Freedom Park. The art unveiling ceremony will occur from 4pm to 5pm on Wednesday March 20th and participating dignitaries will include Atlanta MayorKasim Reed and the Mexican Consulate General. The artist will receive the Phoenix award from the City of Atlanta at this ceremony. After the unveiling ceremony, the Ms. Domenge will speak at the HIGH Museum of Art later that evening.