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The Atlanta BeltLine
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Historic Fourth Ward Park
Atlanta’s Best New Urban Oasis
Historic Fourth Ward Park is perhaps the most visible sign for most Atlantans of the transformative nature of the Atlanta BeltLine. Dedicated by Mayor Kasim Reed on June 18, 2011, Historic Fourth Ward Park is a glistening oasis where there once stood little more than cracked asphalt, trash-strewn fields, and an empty promise of something more. Despite exciting changes and evolutions in the surrounding community over the past decade, the neighborhood lacked a galvanizing greenspace in which to gather. With its official dedication in spring of 2011, Historic Fourth Ward Park now offers 17 new acres of greenspace, a spectacular park packed with amenities for all to enjoy. The main section of the park includes open, passive lawns, a playground, a splashpad, an outdoor theater and a 2-acre lake, while a second phase features a world-class skatepark, another fabulous playground, and a large multi-use athletic field.
Form Meets Function at the Lake
Storm water runoff and damaging flooding once plagued the area where Historic Fourth Ward Park now stands and its surrounding environs. The new 2-acre lake provides not only an arresting visual and natural gathering place, but also serves in a functional capacity as a storm water detention basin. In this role, the lake increases the sewer capacity, reduces the burden on aging city infrastructure, and minimizes downstream flooding and property damage. This innovative infrastructure solution was achieved through a partnership with the City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management. It ultimately saved the City more than $15 million versus a traditional storm water tunnel system, and is one of the many sustainable features of the park.
Perhaps the biggest challenge for kids visiting the Historic Fourth Ward playground is having enough time to play with everything! There are so many different climbing structures, slides, swings, rock walls, and climbing areas that it can be a bit overwhelming (in a good way!). There are amazing features geared towards toddlers, pre-schoolers, grade-schoolers, and up. There’s a little something for everyone of every age!
Splashin’ Good Fun for Kids
Cool fun awaits kids of all ages at the splashpad. Special features include multiple jets of streaming water that emanate from the ground as well as overhead, lots of space for kids to play without feeling crammed together, and plenty of benches for the parents! The splashpad is open daily, 10 a.m. until 8 p.m., from May 1 through October 1.
Greenspace That Keeps Green in Mind
Historic Fourth Ward Park was designed with several sustainable features, including the lake. The use of native plants helps reduce the cost of maintaining the park, and organic land-care with dynamic soil biology helps reduce the need for irrigation, minimize storm water runoff, and curtail the likelihood of disease. Shade structures adorned with solar panels greet visitors as they arrive through the eastern entrance to the park.
A Short History of Historic Fourth Ward Park
Historic Fourth Ward Park is the result of years of work between the community, area business and property owners, local elected officials, city departments and the Atlanta BeltLine. Public and private partnerships were essential to the funding, planning, design and construction of these projects. In 2004, The Trust for Public Land (TPL) began to secure crucial parcels needed to form an unbroken greenspace. In 2006, Atlanta City Councilmember Kwanza Hall convened city and neighborhood leaders to plan for a greenspace amenity that addressed storm water relief. 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. The storm water retention lake, the park’s most visible and recognizable feature, was built through a partnership between Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. and the Department of Watershed Management, saving the City more than $15 million from the original plans to build a traditional storm water facility that was not part of a park.