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Save the Date! ATL Trivia Night for Freedom Park

Save the Date!

On August 17th, Freedom Park Conservancy will host an Atlanta-themed trivia night at Manuel’s Tavern!

More information and tickets coming soon. Click here to join the event on Facebook.

Interested in sponsoring the event? Freedom Park Conservancy has a variety of levels available with fun perks like the chance to customize a trivia question! Just email Laura at Laura@freedompark.org for more information.

Volunteer on July 13th

Roll up your sleeves and help Freedom Park Conservancy spruce up the park for all to enjoy! Each month we will tackle a necessary project such as planting flowers, mulching, removing invasives, or pruning.

On June 13th beginning at 8:30am we will gather to pick up litter in several “hotspots” in the park.

There will be bugs and there will be dirt, so plan accordingly. Please wear closed-toe shoes, sunscreen, and bring water. Tools and gloves will be provided, but you are welcome to bring your own if you have a preference.

CLICK HERE TO RSVP!

Across the Board: A Neighborhood Asset

Across the Board is a monthly column authored by members of Freedom Park Conservancy’s Board of Directors. This month’s post was written by Philip Covin.

My wife and I bought our little bungalow in Inman Park in 2016. There were a number of factors that led to that decision: a great school district, historic architecture, short walking distance to restaurants, close proximity to a MARTA train station, etc.  On the other hand, one of the negatives was that it did not come with a very big yard in which our five-year old son (nor our soon-to-be-acquired dog) could play. However, only a few steps away was a huge rolling park with wide open spaces, a playground, and walking paths.  

I’m not even sure that I knew Freedom Park’s name at the time, but what did it matter?  Here was this great resource in my backyard, and yet I didn’t even have to maintain it! Even better, right?  The Freedom Park PATH could also connect me to other fun neighborhoods which I could walk or bike to: Candler Park, Druid Hills, Lake Claire, Old Fourth Ward, Poncey-Highland, and Virginia Highland, as well as the Beltline which could eventually link me to even more areas of town.  As both a commercial real estate broker and an actor, I spend a lot of time in the car, driving from appointment to appointment. Yet, as we contemplated the purchase of our home three years ago, I felt enticed by this opportunity to use my car as little as possible on weekends as we could walk to restaurants, neighborhood festivals, or shopping, using the park and its trails.  

All that is to say that Freedom Park helped convince us to buy our home. And when the northeast segment of the Beltline trail is completed hopefully later this year, I will be able to bike from my home to my work, using only the Freedom Park and Beltline trails.  It’s pretty exciting, to say the least. My commute time will become exercise time so that I can start my day with a clear mind, and I’ll also save on gas and car maintenance expenses.

What a wonderful resource we have right around us – the largest park in the City.  Do we take it for granted? Hopefully not. Let’s invest our resources – both time and money – to make sure that it continues to provide these benefits and more.   Please consider giving a couple hours of time on one of our volunteer days and contributing monetarily, as you can. Every dollar counts. Can you help?

Click here to learn more about how you can support Freedom Park Conservancy!

Volunteer on June 8th!

Roll up your sleeves and help Freedom Park Conservancy spruce up the park for all to enjoy! Each month we will tackle a necessary project such as planting flowers, mulching, removing invasives, or pruning.

On June 8th beginning at 8:30am we will be working in several groups to pick up litter in several “hotspots” in the park.

There will be bugs and there will be dirt, so plan accordingly. Please wear closed-toe shoes, sunscreen, and bring water. Tools and gloves will be provided, but you are welcome to bring your own if you have a preference.

CLICK HERE TO RSVP!

Across the Board: Celebrating Urban Activism and Activity

Across the Board is a monthly column authored by members of Freedom Park Conservancy’s Board of Directors. This month’s post was written by Naka Nathaniel.

It’s not out of the ordinary for ancient Rome to be credited for great urban ideas. Contemporary Rome? Not so much. However, Atlanta was the beneficiary of an idea inspired by a modern-day Roman: Jane’s Walk.

For a year, the Freedom Park Conservancy prepared to become our city’s inaugural host for Jane’s Walk. Jane’s Walk is an annual celebration of free, citizen-led walking conversations inspired by Jane Jacobs. On the first weekend of May every year, Jane’s Walk festivals take place in hundreds of cities around the world.

I’m proud to say Atlanta’s first Jane’s Walk weekend was a tremendous success.

Kelly Jordan and Don Bender led a Jane’s Walk discussing the past forty years of revitalization in Little Five Points. Photo by Terry Kearns.

The idea first came to our board member Nancy Boyd, when a friend called to wish her happy birthday from Rome. Her friend had to end the call so he could attend a Jane’s Walk. Nancy had never heard of the event, but she knew she wanted to bring it to Atlanta.

Fortunately, Harriet Lane, the president of the FPC board, has a very well-earned reputation for leading great urban hikes. It was a natural pairing of urban activism and urban activity.

Jane Jacobs inspired the walks, but her story isn’t well-known in Atlanta. Luckily, Matt Tyrnauer recently directed an incredible documentary about Jacobs called “Citizen Jane: Battle for the City.” The Carter Presidential Library and Museum hosted the film and Matt was interviewed by CNN’s Lisa Respers France after the screening. It was wonderful to see Georgians inspired by her story and the parallels to the fight to create Freedom Park.

Over 100 people attended a free screening of Citizen Jane: Battle for the City.

Matt and Harriet were also interviewed by Lois Reitzes for WABE’s City Lights program. “Citizen Jane” can also be seen on many streaming services, but it was tough to beat watching in a crowd of like-minded citizens.

FPC conducted several workshops to train citizens on how to lead the walks. Twenty three walks were  held across Atlanta through not only through Freedom Park, but Oakland Cemetery, Little Five Points and the Olmsted Linear Parks.

My favorite was the hike I did with Cub Scout Pack 586. Many of the scouts are students at Mary Lin Elementary which was supposed to have an interstate highway next to school. Thankfully for the students, there’s a bird and butterfly garden next to the school instead of six-lanes of traffic.

The Cub Scouts hiked through the park collecting more than a 150 pieces of trash before reaching the Farmer’s Market at the Carter Center where they celebrated their hike and their helpfulness with popsicles.

Next year’s Jane’s Walk will be May 1-3, 2020. The FPC hopes you’ll be able to join a walk next year, or even better lead one! If you’re interested in helping sponsor this event next year, please contact our Executive Director, Laura Hennighausen, at laura@freedompark.org.

Announcing Second Saturday Volunteer Days!

Freedom Park is one of the largest public parks in the city of Atlanta, and it takes an army to keep it looking its best!

It’s our duty to contribute to the upkeep of our public spaces, so beginning in June, Freedom Park Conservancy will host a monthly volunteer work day on the second Saturday of the month.

You can see upcoming volunteer dates and projects on our events page by clicking here, or join our volunteer list to receive email alerts about upcoming work days.

Let’s do this!

Compete in the Atlanta City Nature Challenge

Spend some time in Freedom Park the weekend of April 26th and help Atlanta compete in a nation-wide challenge! It’s simple. Just:

  • Download iNaturalist: Click here or search for iNaturalist in the app store.
  • Find Wildlife: Any plant, animal or fungi in Atlanta counts.
  • Take a Picture: Your picture will be automatically geo-tagged and date stamped by your smartphone.
  • Share Observations: Upload your observations through the free iNaturalist app.

Visit Fernbank’s website for more information by clicking here!

Across the Board: Why I Donate my Time

By Nancy Megehee, Board Secretary

I recently met with a small group of Atlanta businessmen about topics unrelated to Freedom Park.  When I mentioned I was on the Freedom Park Conservancy Board of Directors, they shifted forward in their seats to hear more. It was just one of the many times I’ve experienced the interest and connection the entire Atlanta community has to this wonderful asset.  I told them it was part of the Conservancy’s mission to advocate for improvement of the park and it was clear from their follow-up questions that they felt the park has a lot of promise and that now is the time to act. This public perception is one of the main reasons I agreed to represent my neighborhood on the Freedom Park Conservancy’s Board – to have an opportunity to apply my expertise in a meaningful way to generate results that the public can recognize as benefiting the park and surrounding areas.  

Nancy Megehee lives in Historic Fourth Ward.

Freedom Park is an enormous green space that ties together the neighborhoods of Candler Park, Druid Hills, Inman Park, Lake Claire, Old Fourth Ward, Poncey-Highland, and Virginia Highlands.  Depending on which stats you review, Freedom Park is larger than Piedmont Park, and is Atlanta’s largest passive park.

What does “passive park” mean? Passive recreation refers to activities that do not require prepared facilities, like tennis courts, sports fields, or pavilions.  Passive recreation typically can include activities like bird watching, walking, photographing nature, and bicycling. While this can be a bit restrictive, we are also a Public Art Park, and as such boast multiple pieces of permanent outdoor sculpture and host temporary art installations.  These features differentiate Freedom Park from Atlanta’s other green spaces and motivates us to be creative in how we engage visitors. We hope this adds a wonderful dimension to the enjoyment of Freedom Park.

What does it take to create programming, to successfully plan events, to make improvements in landscaping, and to implement the countless other ideas we and our constituents have for the park?  Citizens like you that are willing to give of their own time and expertise to contribute to the process. Input from across the region from readers like you on what you would like to see in the park.  Donors like you that provide critically needed funding to make the community’s dreams a reality.

I hope you’ll see an opportunity to make a meaningful difference.  It doesn’t have to be a large investment, but every contribution of every type helps!  I hope you’re leaning forward in your chair and deciding that you, too, will have a hand in making Freedom Park the best community-treasured passive park it can be.

Click here to sign up to volunteer, or click here to make a donation!

A Master Plan for Freedom Park

Freedom Park is built on the ruins of family homes. In the 1960s and early 70s, more than 600 houses were demolished in order to build a major tollway that would have cut through historic neighborhoods such as Old Fourth Ward, Poncey-Highland, Candler Park, Inman Park, Lake Claire, and Druid Hills. Thankfully, engaged citizens banded together to Fight the Road and instead of a raised, four-lane highway Atlanta now benefits from Freedom Park, a 200+ acre public green space.

Environmental design firm EDAW was tasked with developing a plan for Freedom Park in the early 1990s. It was an ambitious undertaking and while much was accomplished, there were many opportunities that were never fully realized.

A rendering of proposed water features at the corner of Ponce de Leon and Freedom Parkway.

It’s been more than 20 years since Freedom Park’s original master plan. Much has changed in these years and it is clear that there must be a new, updated plan to better prepare for the next 20+ years. To ensure Freedom Park continues to reflect the vision of its founders while remaining relevant and inviting to thousands of visitors and new Atlantans, we must take the time to envision together what Freedom Park can become.

To do this, Freedom Park Conservancy is preparing to undergo a master planning process and we are asking for your support.

We hope that with a careful and professional process, the Conservancy can determine how the Park can best serve the community. From large issues such as drainage and erosion, to the best places to site a new park bench, the plan will be a guiding document for the park forged through careful analysis and public engagement.

In order to move forward, Freedom Park Conservancy is launching a campaign to raise the necessary funds to engage a skilled outside firm to lead this project. Remember, Freedom is YOUR Park, and we are counting on you to help shape its future.

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation today by clicking here. If you’d like more information on the master planning process, we welcome you to contact our Executive Director Laura Hennighausen at laura@freedompark.org.