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The Atlanta BeltLine
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Our very special Adopt the Atlanta BeltLine groups help to build this project a little more every time they get out on the trail for a clean-up. The following blog post highlights our three adopters who share responsibility for a stretch of interim hiking trail in southwest Atlanta – from I-20 north to Napoleon Drive. Here is their story of how they got involved and what makes them so excited to get out and make a difference:
Two years ago, Parsons Brinckerhoff and Heery International joined forces to adopt the Southwest Segment 4 of the Atlanta BeltLine, which runs through the historic Mozley Park neighborhood west of downtown Atlanta. Parsons Brinckerhoff is a global leader in transportation and infrastructure engineering. Heery International, the U.S. buildings operating company of Parsons Brinckerhoff, was founded in 1952 in Atlanta and has deep roots in the community. Staff at Parsons Brinckerhoff and Heery wanted to join forces on a community service project in Atlanta that would give staff from both operations the ability to give back to the community. We identified the Adopt the Atlanta BeltLine as the best option for a community service project to which both firms could commit. We selected this particular segment because we wanted to work with an engaged neighborhood partner on a section of the Atlanta BeltLine that could really benefit from strong corporate support.
One weekend early into our adoption, Parsons Brinckerhoff’s volunteer program leader took her family to the Atlanta BeltLine to explore our newly adopted segment. While there, she spoke with a resident of the adjoining Mozley Park neighborhood who was planting flowers along the Atlanta BeltLine and explained about the Parsons Brinckerhoff / Heery International team’s plans for the adopted segment. An idea developed almost immediately to invite the neighborhood to join the team. Volunteers from Parsons Brinckerhoff went to the Mozley Park Neighborhood Association’s monthly meeting to introduce Parsons Brinckerhoff and Heery, discuss our adoption of Southwest segment 4 and invite the Mozley Park Neighborhood Association to become co-adopters. Mozley Park residents were excited to be included and very eager to sign on as co-adopters of the Atlanta BeltLine segment that adjoins their neighborhood. It is a win-win-win arrangement: the companies have an engaged neighborhood partner, the neighborhood has committed corporate support, and the Atlanta BeltLine has a strong triple-partnership for this less-developed segment of the corridor. This partnership has become a model for combining corporate and neighborhood support. Recently, the Atlanta BeltLine decided that corporate adopter groups should be paired with local groups to be able to continue with their adoption.
What makes your group passionate about the project?
The Atlanta BeltLine is the kind of civic project that will make a positive difference in Atlanta’s livability for years to come. As the project continues to develop, neighborhoods like Mozely Park will receive a lot more attention because of the walkability and park-like atmosphere provided by the Atlanta BeltLine. Also important is that adopting a section of the Atlanta BeltLine fits with each of our companies. Parsons Brinckerhoff, as a leading infrastructure company, is committed to the kind of smart growth that is evidenced by the Atlanta BeltLine. Heery’s community outreach holds sustainability and the environment as a primary focus area, and the Atlanta BeltLine clearly fits within that focus. Parsons Brinckerhoff and Heery have an ongoing annual Community Involvement Challenge (CIC) where all of our office locations compete against each other to win by scoring points for their volunteering efforts and the Atlanta BeltLine adoption gives our local offices a huge advantage!
What is your group’s volunteer role in supporting the Adopt the Atlanta BeltLine program?
The Parsons Brinckerhoff/Heery International/Mozely Park Neighborhood Association’s section of the Atlanta BeltLine was an unofficial dumping ground for many years. The work teams have labored to clean out tires, furniture and construction debris in order to make this segment a community asset. Even though the work has been very hard, the teams have formed strong bonds. We have a lot of “repeaters” on our work teams who show up for regular work days. Plus, we draw volunteers from all levels in our organizations. In addition to non-management staff, our work teams have included the president of Heery International and members of his management team, as well as leaders from the local Parsons Brinckerhoff office.
In addition, we encourage staff to include their spouses, children and friends when volunteering on the Atlanta BeltLine. We have also invited students from local schools on different occasions in an effort to promote the benefits of volunteering from a young age (and to enable them to get their social work credits good towards graduation!). In the future, we hope to open our monthly and quarterly outings to other members of the public who would like to volunteer on the Atlanta BeltLine but do not have a group to adopt a segment. We registered the project with the U.S. Green Building Council for its Green Apple Day of Service this year as a first step toward broadening our outreach efforts.
How is your adopter group moving the Atlanta BeltLine forward?
We enjoy regular workdays on the third Saturday of the month in spring and fall, where we take on excavating debris and other clean-up activities. During winter and summer, we gather less frequently. We are hoping to be able to accomplish some improvements in the next year, such as making access to our segment easier from the road.
You can peruse the online photo gallery of Southwest 4′s clean-ups here. Thank you so much to our adopter groups! Click here to learn more about the Adopt the Atlanta BeltLine program and read more about our other adopter spotlights here.
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