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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
On May 4-5, join citizen-led walking tours around Atlanta in celebration of urbanist Jane Jacobs.
On the first weekend of May every year, Jane’s Walk festivals take place in hundreds of cities around the world. In 2019, Freedom Park Conservancy is excited to host Atlanta’s first Janes Walk weekend.
Jane’s Walks encourage people to share stories about their neighborhoods, discover unseen aspects of their communities, and use walking as a way to connect with their neighbors.
Questions or want to get involved next year? Contact us at email@example.com.