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Thank You for a Successful Georgia Gives Day!

Thanks to thirty-four generous donors, Freedom Park Conservancy exceeded our first Georgia Gives Day goal of $5,000, raising $5,420 in the twenty-four hour day of giving!

This funding is dedicated to several park improvement projects FPC has identified for 2019, including:

– Eight volunteer work days in the park to remove invasive plants, mulch trees, and address erosion issues
– Enhancement of, and Audubon Society Certification for, our Bird and Butterfly Garden (located at the corner of North Avenue and Candler Park Drive)
– The addition of at least two small native pollinator gardens
– Identifying and preserving snags for woodpecker habitat

Although $5,000 may seem like a small amount, these projects will propel FPC into 2019 as we begin to work with our surrounding communities to enhance Freedom Park for a diverse public. Successful projects will allow FPC to demonstrate our ability to tackle much larger projects in the future and target larger funding amounts from private foundations.

Thank you to our Georgia Gives Day supporters and the many others who have supported FPC financially in 2018. If you would like to make a difference, please consider making a donation today using our secure web portal below.

Across the Board – What’s in the Works

By Harriett Lane, Board Chair

FPC Board Chair Harriett Lane

It’s winter and fewer people are using the park. But while the grass lies dormant, Freedom Park Conservancy (FPC) has been busy planning for an exciting 2019 featuring public art projects, new plantings, public events, and more. FPC is eager to implement new projects in partnership with partners like the City of Atlanta, Atlanta Audubon Society, Trees Atlanta, and Park Pride. We can’t wait to share details!

As FPC has been gearing up, many of our board members have been asked about a proposal to build a pedestrian bridge in Freedom Park over Moreland Avenue. A pedestrian bridge over Moreland Avenue was one of several proposed pedestrian bridges in the original concept plan for the park, all of which were not built. A new grassroots effort has brought the idea forward once more. 

EDAW Sketch of Freedom Park at Moreland Avenue
A rendering of Freedom Park at Moreland Avenue from the original 1994 master plan

FPC’s Board of Directors, made up of representatives from our surrounding neighborhoods and other stakeholders, dedicated a meeting to discussing the idea. We talked about the state of the park today and how the bridge concept intersects with our mission to promote the improvement of the park for a diverse public. It’s important to us that the Conservancy encourages the exploration of all ideas that would improve the connectivity, safety, and beauty of the park. We’re very glad to see people talking about Freedom Park and how it’s used!

We concluded that we would like to see the concept studied with full public participation and the complete involvement of all stakeholders, particularly the neighborhoods bordering the park. We intend to be part of that conversation and anticipate the bridge will be explored as part of our upcoming master planning process.

While the bridge idea has generated a lot of discussion, it’s far from the only improvement our park needs. When Freedom Park was first laid out, a beautiful concept plan was created. Many ideas in this original plan were never implemented, and as a result most of our 200+ acres are missing what many may consider to be basic park amenities: benches, landscaping, lighting, picnic tables, drinking fountains, and more.

A rendering of the corner of Freedom Parkway and Ponce de Leon Avenue from the original 1994 master plan

In an effort to enhance the park in ways that would benefit the diverse community who loves it,  FPC is fundraising now for a new master plan for the park to address long-delayed improvements, big and small. We recently received a $50,000 gift from an anonymous donor to help us kickstart this fundraising. That’s a lot of money, but we need at least $100,000 more to create a comprehensive plan that spans the parkland running through all seven neighborhoods. Please consider making a donation today to help us improve our park.

If you’re curious about the original plan for the park and what’s missing, you can view high-resolution scans below. Please keep bringing us your ideas and we’ll keep working hard to make Freedom Park the best park it can be.

EDAW Freedom Park Master Plan Page 1

EDAW Freedom Park Master Plan Page 2

Report an issue

Freedom Park Conservancy has a Park Improvement Committee charged with tracking physical issues and opportunities within Freedom Park. The Committee and Neighborhood Directors regularly walk the Park to keep track of the Park’s status. Issues noted include incidents of graffiti, erosion, invasive plants, tree canopy issues, and more.

If you have noticed an issue in the park, please feel free to reach out to the Conservancy to make sure it is on our radar. Email info@FreedomPark.org or call the Conservancy at 404-480-3018 to bring it to our attention and we will do what we can to make sure it is addressed!

You can help!

As 2019 comes to a close, Freedom Park Conservancy is preparing for an eventful new year. We look forward to sharing details of an upcoming public art project in March, plans for new pollinator plantings, and opportunities for public engagement throughout the year.

If you’re a fan of Freedom Park and want to help enhance one of Atlanta’s largest public green spaces, please consider making a year-end contribution!




Hike Freedom Park on December 8th

Join Freedom Park Conservancy on a brisk urban hike and explore one of Atlanta’s largest green spaces!

On the morning of December 8th, Freedom Park Conservancy Board Chair Harriett Lane, an experienced tour guide, will lead attendees on a < 5 mile trek on the Freedom Park PATH trail. Attendees will learn about the history of Freedom Park and FPC’s plans for its future while enjoying the sites and sounds of this urban oasis, sipping hot chocolate along the way!

RESERVE YOUR SPOT BY CLICKING HERE!

Dress for the weather and wear comfortable shoes. Families welcome.

This event is free but donations to Freedom Park Conservancy are welcome! You can donate by clicking below or in person at the event.

Click here to join and share this event on Facebook.

FPC’s Radiant Ride – December 16th

Light up Freedom Park on our Radiant Ride!

Join Freedom Park Conservancy at 6pm on December 16th as we create a sparkling spectacle through one of Atlanta’s largest public parks.

The Radiant Ride is free and open to all to participate, no registration necessary. Bring your friends and help us highlight what Freedom Park has to offer! Decorate your bikes (and yourself) in lights for this night time event.

We will gather at Condesa Coffee at 6pm. Attendees are encouraged to bike to Condesa, but there is limited street and deck parking on John Wesley Dobbs Avenue.

Click here to join the event on Facebook and invite your friends!

Across the Board – How to Ride a Bike in Freedom Park

By Steve Cushing, Immediate Past Chair

Like many of us who live and work in East Atlanta, I spend my work days looking at a computer screen. It’s either a desktop flat panel HD monitor, a smartphone, or tablet. Typing and reading emails, creating spreadsheets, analyzing data for cost benefit analysis or project implementation…I know, yawn—stretch—ugh is it only 3:30?

One of my favorite ways to unwind at the end of a day is to go out for a bike ride in Freedom Park. Now—I love road biking, and modern, high-end bike technology. A carbon fiber frame road bike with electronic shifters, an 11 gear rear cluster and 23cm wheels is the cat’s meow—but that’s not for Freedom Park. No, in fact I roll my eyes when I see road bikes on Freedom Park, at least as much as they will roll inside a rectangle.

No, for Freedom Park you just need an old, slow, heavy bike. One cobbled together from broken bikes eagerly given to you by friends, or a hand me down clunker is just fine. Thanks to the foresight of the early CAUTION members and the first plans drawn up by EDAW with the input of the neighborhoods, Freedom Park trails are not designed to get you from Point A to Point B. The paths in Freedom Park are designed to slow you down so that you will enjoy the space in between those points. Miles Davis once famously said of Jazz that the most important part of his music was the space in between the notes. Freedom Park is the space in between seven neighborhoods. To ride in Freedom Park, you need to take your time. Heck, get off the bike and walk.

Sometime in this past September, toward the middle of the month, it was a particularly pretty day outside. Clouds like shipwrecks were scuttling across a snappy blue sky. Far off in the Atlantic a low pressure center was pulling in cool, clear air from the north toward its slow vortex. Here in Atlanta, we sat on the perimeter watching it all go by. I got on my city bike, a 20 year old mountain bike that I’d striped down of shocks and other non-essential hardware to become a spunky curb jumping red ATV. It weighs a ton, but has lots of granny gears and is bullet proof, perfect for riding in the city.

It was late in the day and the sun cast long rolling shadows across the grand meadow. A lone sunbather was stretched out in the acres of late summer grass. Beyond the single figure, trees bordering Druid Place drew a dark line of natural patterns that separated the earth from sky. Some of the trees were older, well established oak trees that once stood in the yards of homes; now the trees and lone steps leading from the sidewalk are all that remain.

I stopped at the Domenge sculpture, Tree of Life, located just east of Oakdale Road at North Ave, which had been recently refurbished. It’s vibrant red color and cursive, calligraphic shape were catching the afternoon’s last light. I was feeling better already, my eyes slowly returning to their natural shape. My next stop was near Euclid Avenue,at  the Diane Solomon Kempler multi-part bronze, water and stone sculpture entitled New Endings. Now the afternoon light was cutting in steeply as it set. The water feature was on and the fairytale Jack and the Bean Stalk feel of the bronze was even more dramatic – it looked like a water fountain from some larger than life creature that was going to come harvest the bronze tubers.

New Endings by Diane Kempler

Nearby a large lush stand of flowering Canna Lilies added to the imagery of harvest, their leaves well munched on by voracious caterpillars. I spent time at each sculpture, taking pictures with my smartphone and wishing I’d brought a real camera, before riding down to the eastern terminus of Freedom Park at the slowly crumbling Jackson Heights Baptist church. The path below Candler Park golf course is one of my favorite spots. The stone work on the bridge is nice for portrait photography and the stream, rejuvenated thanks to efforts by neighborhood organizations, is now home again to beavers that migrated upstream from the Chattahoochee.

On this day, I don’t bother to ride the full eight miles of trails in Freedom Park. I take my time riding back toward home, enjoying the play of light in the trees, stopping to snap pictures, dawdling in a way that only the green and light of outdoors can help you do. No need to repeat a mantra, each step or pedal stroke is another breath, troubling thoughts come and are released. This is the way to ride a bike.

—–

Steve Cushing is a photographer, sculptor, and former Board Chair of Freedom Park Conservancy. He, and his wife “Miss Laura” have lived on Seminole Ave and enjoyed Freedom Park for 27 years.

 

The artwork in Freedom Park is owned and maintained by the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs.

Show Your Support!

Freedom Park Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Founded as C.A.U.T.I.O.N. in 1982 and renamed to Freedom Park Conservancy in 1997, FPC has been a steward of Freedom Park before the park even existed.

Now, with our first even Executive Director and a fully engaged board, we are ready to make bigger strides toward the improvement and maintenance of one of Atlanta’s largest green spaces.

FPC wants to see trees pruned and mulched, invasive plants and graffiti removed, signage cleaned and updated, trash picked up, and lighting fixed. We want to encourage more public art (we are, after all, Atlanta’s Art Park) and public education, and passive recreation.

FPC wants to be Your advocate for Your park. But we can’t do it without You.

Freedom Park is, of course, free and open to the public. As it stands right now there is no earned income stream to support our operations. That means we rely on support from individuals like you as we establish programming and a plan for how to accomplish for what the community would like to see over the next several years.

If you love Freedom Park, if you use its paths to travel to work or get some exercise, if you appreciate public art, and if you want to see Freedom Park realize its full potential, please support Freedom Park Conservancy today.

Make a tax-deductible contribution, join a giving society, or sign up to volunteer.

Remember, Freedom is YOUR Park, but it needs YOUR support!

Across the Board – A New Look for a New Era at FPC

A New Look for a New Era at FPC

By Sara Clark

Hello! As the Communications Committee Chair for the Board of Directors, I want to welcome you to our new monthly column, Across The Board. Each month, you’ll hear from one (or two!) of our Directors on a range of park-adjacent topics. Expect fond memories, insider tips, information about upcoming events, and more! We hope you’ll enjoy getting to know a little more about the folks who volunteer their time to help Freedom Park be all it can be.

First up: me! My name is Sara Clark, and I’ve been on the board of the conservancy for about two and a half years. I’m one of the seemingly few people who was born and raised in the Atlanta area, and I’ve lived in Candler Park for the last five years. If you had told 19-year-old Sara that one day she would live a stone’s throw from Little Five Points, she would have been very excited…

This was my 19-year-old excited face

In our inaugural column, I wanted to talk more about the new branding we introduced last month. About a year ago, you may have noticed a new tagline coming from FPC – “Freedom is your Park.” We had a few t-shirts, magnets, and stickers made, and started posting #freedomisyourpark on our social media posts. It didn’t look like any of the branding we had before, but more importantly it was a new message. Freedom is YOUR Park. While we, Freedom Park Conservancy, are tasked with being the guardians of Freedom Park, the park itself truly belongs to all of us – each and every neighbor, visitor, and ATLien who enjoys the amenities of our beloved park.

While we love this message, we felt like it wasn’t quite enough to truly reflect the energy and the vision of FPC today and in the future. As an organization, we are looking at the work we’re doing now as setting the stage for the next 25 years for Freedom Park – this includes hiring our first Executive Director, Laura Hennighausen, and also starting a major Master Plan fundraising campaign. We felt that this new energy and new vision required a new look to present to the community.  

First of all, none of this would be possible without a generous grant from Perkins + Will, who employ a phenomenal branding team. Thank you Perkins + Will, and especially Meredith, who knocked it out of the park (pun intended). What we felt was so perfect about the branding they created was that it tells our story for us: 

We love the intersecting lines that match the shape of the park, and form an “F.” The color sections show all of the overlapping communities, population groups, and interests that all come together within our park. We feel that we are a connection point for so much of Atlanta, and now our look truly reflects that. I hope you love it as much as we do, and will enjoy it for years to come.