Stepping out the back door, Shireen Herrington watches the Atlanta BeltLine’s Eastside Trail take shape from among the hot peppers and herbs in the chef’s garden behind her restaurant. Shireen is the manager at Two Urban Licks and feels a connection to her Austin, Texas roots when walking through the trails, linear greenspace, and art of the Atlanta BeltLine. “Austin has a lot of trails and open, outdoor things to do,” said Shireen. “I was amazed that there was this free space in a prime location of Atlanta with art and almost a ‘hippie-ness’ to it. It’s nice to have a healthy and alternative side to the city when Atlanta has always been more about traffic.”
Shireen works for Concentrics Restaurants who owns three restaurants along the Atlanta BeltLine corridor (Two Urban Licks, One Midtown Kitchen, and Parish all sit directly on the corridor) in addition to the company’s corporate offices. She combined her strong belief in community spirit with the Concentrics owners’ on-going involvement with the Atlanta BeltLine to adopt a quarter-mile section of the trail next to Piedmont Park. While Shireen was originally interested in the stretch behind Two Urban Licks, the Fourth Ward Conservancy had already adopted it, which led to Concentrics adopting the section just south of another one of their restaurants – One Midtown Kitchen.
As part of the Adopt the Atlanta BeltLine program, Concentrics and Amsterdam Walk teamed up to adopt the stretch of interim hiking trail from the bridge at Park Drive (into Piedmont Park) north to Evelyn Street (the road leading to the Piedmont Park parking deck). The two groups take turns picking up trash, clearing invasive species and weeds, and visiting the area every couple of weeks to keep an eye on the trail. As the team leader, Shireen sets the dates, sends out the flyers, rallies the troops, and arranges for the tools. Earlier this month, the two groups whacked and sprayed a large bamboo grove by Park Drive in an effort to increase visibility and safety on the trail.
The Adopt the Atlanta BeltLine program skyrocketed in popularity last year as community organizations, businesses, and non-profits rushed to apply for the quarter-mile section of trail closest to them. The Atlanta BeltLine Partnership, the non-profit entity in charge of the program, turned to Park Pride to help administer the day-to-day operations of the program. Amanda Martin helps organize the volunteers who so tirelessly keep these linear greenspaces clean.
Back at Two Urban Licks, Shireen and her team are preparing for the opening of the Eastside Trail. They recently hosted the Adopt the Atlanta BeltLine volunteer meet and greet at the restaurant and previously set up a lantern making area in support of Art on the Atlanta BeltLine’s Lantern Parade. Inspired by the conversion of an abandoned railroad into active, multi-use path at her back door, Shireen looks forward to creating a second entrance with another hostess stand to welcome and seat guests coming by foot or by bike from the Eastside Trail. “The project is really important for the health of the city,” says Shireen. “It’s a useful space that’s creating a safer environment.”
Thank you to all of our volunteers like Shireen, Concentrics Restaurants, and the rest of our adopters of the Atlanta BeltLine! Your hard work and dedication turn the project into reality on a daily basis. Learn more about how your group can adopt a section of the Atlanta BeltLine.