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Community Celebration with Food, Music and Fun on Saturday, June 18

Atlanta, June 16, 2011 – Mayor Kasim Reed will lead the official dedication of Historic Fourth Ward Park along the Atlanta BeltLine on Saturday, June 18 at 10 a.m. Following the opening ceremonies, guests can enjoy food, music and children’s activities from 10:30 to noon to celebrate the unprecedented community collaboration that made possible the innovative, inspiring 17 acres of new greenspace and amenities in the heart of the city.

“The opening of the Historic Fourth Ward Park is the result of a neighborhood rallying for a better quality of life, non-profit organizations investing early support and capital, and the public and private sectors collaborating to create something transformational and wonderful for our city,” said Mayor Reed. “We are delivering solidly on the Atlanta BeltLine vision of equitable and sustainable economic development that improves and beautifies our city’s neighborhoods.”

“We are excited to celebrate the grand opening of one of the Atlanta BeltLine’s first new parks,” said Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. President and CEO Brian Leary. “This park is an asset to the community and a model for sustainability for other new parks across the city and the country.” Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. managed the construction of the park on behalf of the Department of Watershed Management and the Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs.

The park, stretching from City Hall East to Freedom Parkway, includes two separate parcels: a northern parcel with open, passive lawns, a playground, splashpad, an outdoor theater and a 2-acre pond that is a stormwater detention basin. The southeast parcel, which abuts the Atlanta BeltLine corridor, includes a multiuse field, a playground and Atlanta’s first skatepark, which opened on June 11 and features photovoltaic solar panels to offset energy costs and reduce long-term maintenance costs for the City.

“In 2003¬, the City of Atlanta was under federal mandate to address flooding around City Hall East, which lies at one of the low points of the 800-acre Clear Creek Basin in the Old Fourth Ward,” said Department of Watershed Management Commissioner Designee JoAnn Macrina. “We are proud to make real the vision of citizens who recognized the opportunity to create an above-ground stormwater detention pond to catch the runoff from the surrounding watershed and serve as a public natural area.”

In 2004, The Trust for Public Land (TPL) began to secure crucial parcels needed to form an unbroken greenspace. Subsequently, TPL made recommendations for an Atlanta BeltLine Connected Park System. “Enabling the dreams of a community to add value for all of Atlanta is a best case scenario for The Trust for Public Land,” said TPL Georgia Director Helen Tapp. “Historic Fourth Ward Park delivers on what we said was possible with the Atlanta BeltLine, and it sets a standard for what’s to come.”

In 2006, Atlanta City Councilmember Kwanza Hall convened City and neighborhood leaders to plan for a greenspace amenity that addressed stormwater relief. “The 10,000 Old Fourth Ward residents and business owners who came together with a vision of the future just a few years ago now have an amazing new park to show as the fruits of their labor,” said Councilmember Hall. “This park is a testament to the power of the people, and our commitment to supporting the Atlanta BeltLine in its implementation of beautiful, safe, functional parks that will bring our communities even closer together.”

Old Fourth Ward residents and business owners formed the Park Area Coalition, which has since evolved into the Historic Fourth Ward Park Conservancy. Ground was broken in 2008 for the park with funding support from the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership Capital Campaign, the Department of Watershed Management, Park Improvement Bonds and the Atlanta BeltLine Tax Allocation District, and land was donated by Wells Fargo, Georgia Power and BB&T, one of the largest financial services holding companies in the U.S.

“Public-private partnership is making possible a healthier, more economically and environmentally sustainable and livable Atlanta,” said Atlanta BeltLine Partnership Executive Director Valarie Wilson. “We are grateful for the support of every organization that has come to the table – and especially for the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation’s significant financial support.”

“Historic Fourth Ward Park is an example of the improved quality of life the Atlanta BeltLine is bringing to the City,” said Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Commissioner George Dusenbury. “Like the newly renovated D.H. Stanton Park and the soon-to-open Boulevard Crossing Park, it is of the highest quality and will have relatively low maintenance costs because of the sustainable energy, water and land-care solutions used in its design and construction.”

Historic Fourth Ward Park features a number of environmentally sustainable features: A detention pond to increase the sewer capacity and reduce the burden on aging City infrastructure and minimize downstream flooding and property damage; organic land-care featuring a dynamic soil biology to reduce the need for irrigation, minimize stormwater runoff and reduce likelihood of disease; and native plants to reduce the cost of maintaining the park.

“This park is a new anchor for the Old Fourth Ward and surrounding communities, and as citizens and business owners, we’re making a long-term investment in the park and the neighborhood through the Historic Fourth Ward Park Conservancy,” said Chairman John Perlman. The Conservancy will work with the Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs and the Department of Watershed Management to provide supplemental maintenance to the park in the future.

Directions
The park is located at 680 Dallas Street, Atlanta, Georgia 30308. Attendees are encouraged to walk, bike or take mass transit. Bus Route #16: Noble-Downtown/Noble-Executive Park makes multiple stops along Ralph McGill Boulevard near the southern end of Historic Fourth Ward Park. Parking is available on a first-come/first-served basis at two lots near the park. Police and volunteers will be directing traffic. More information on parking for the event can be found at events.beltline.org.

About the Atlanta BeltLine

The Atlanta BeltLine is the most comprehensive economic development effort ever undertaken in the City of Atlanta and among the largest, most wide-ranging urban redevelopment projects currently underway in the United States. The Atlanta BeltLine is a sustainable redevelopment project that will provide a network of public parks, multi-use trails and transit along a historic 22-mile railroad corridor circling downtown and connecting many neighborhoods directly to each other. Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. (ABI), formed by the Atlanta Development Authority, is the entity tasked with planning and executing the implementation of the Atlanta BeltLine in partnership with other public and private organizations, including City of Atlanta departments. The Atlanta BeltLine Partnership (ABLP) is a non-profit organization committed to raising funds from private and philanthropic sources to support the Atlanta BeltLine, working with the community and partners to raise general awareness and support, and serving as a catalyst to mobilize resources to address social concerns. For more information on the Atlanta BeltLine, please visit www.BeltLine.org.

About the Historic Fourth Ward Park Conservancy
The Historic Fourth Ward Park Conservancy is a neighborhood organization dedicated to enhancing the maintenance and security of the park while advocating for the full realization of the park plan. To become a member of the Conservancy and help support our mission, visit our website at www.h4wpc.org/membership or call 404-590-PARK (7275).

About The Trust for Public Land
The Trust for Public Land, a national nonprofit conservation organization, helps communities and government agencies identify and protect land for people. TPL has worked with willing landowners, community groups, and national, state, and local agencies to complete more than 3,900 land conservation projects in 47 states, protecting 2.8 million acres. Since 1994, TPL has helped states and communities craft and pass over 330 ballot measures, generating almost $25 billion in new conservation-related funding. In Georgia, TPL has conserved more than 20,000 acres. The Trust for Public Land depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve their land for people mission. For more information, visit www.tpl.org.


MEDIA CONTACTS:

Sonji Jacobs Dade, Director of Communications, Office of Mayor Kasim Reed
404.330.6558, office
404.276.6866, cell
sjdade@atlantaga.gov

Reese McCranie, Deputy Director of Communications, Office of Mayor Kasim Reed
404.330.6006, office
404.886.2334, cell
rmccranie@atlantaga.gov

Ethan Davidson, Atlanta BeltLine, Inc.
(404) 614-8325, edavidson@atlbeltLine.org

Howard Lalli, Atlanta BeltLine Partnership
(404) 455-0348, howard@atlbeltlinepartnership.org

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