Volunteer Spotlight: Grinnell Lofts of the Adopt the Atlanta BeltLine program

Dennis and his wife Faye felt that they were destined to live on the Atlanta BeltLine from the time it was merely a kernel of an idea. After migrating south from Baltimore in 1997, they renovated a 100-year-old bungalow in Inman Park and, about ten years later, downsized to a condo in Grinnell Lofts directly on the Eastside Trail. One year into intown living, and they were swept up into Inman Park’s spirit of volunteerism. Fast forward to 2010, Dennis took a role as president of the Grinnell Lofts Homeowners’ Association where he says he heard about the Adopt the Atlanta BeltLine program and, “I got into the pulpit and said, ‘Absolutely, Grinnell will adopt a section!’ It seemed the natural thing to do.”

Grinnell Lofts Adopt the Atlanta BeltLine clean-up day
Grinnell Lofts residents during one of their Adopt the Atlanta BeltLine clean-up days.

While Dennis transitioned out of HOA president during the adoption process, he still represents the lofts as an adopting entity. He describes their role as “litter patrol.” Residents of Grinnell Lofts spend three hours a month picking up trash on the Eastside Trail between the spur to Freedom Park and the grassy triangle behind their complex just south of N. Highland Avenue. Another adopter group does quarterly clean-ups to compliment their monthly excursions.

As an adopter, Dennis said he has become territorial.

Hey, this is my section of the Atlanta BeltLine and I want it to look good! As I’m out walking around, I always pick up trash and take it back to the Grinnell dumpster. It’s worth the time and effort to keep the Eastside Trail looking good.

Just a few weeks ago, a trail user called in and reported broken glass under the N. Highland Avenue bridge. We contacted our contractor to clean up and dispose of the glass and they said it would be a few hours. At the same time, Amanda from Park Pride, who administers the adopter program, reached out to Dennis who, fortuitously, was home at the time. Dennis summoned his experience as volunteer Head of Trash for the Inman Park Festival and he and Faye walked out their back door to sweep up the glass. Within an hour, it looked like nothing had happened.

So, what makes Dennis so passionate about the Atlanta BeltLine?

Connectivity. Without getting in a car, you’re able to round a bend and get to Ponce City Market, Historic Fourth Ward Park, Piedmont Park, restaurants, etc. The Atlanta BeltLine goes to where Faye and I want to go, encourages being active, involves people-watching, serves as a playground for people, and provides a sense of community. It’s a joy to get out there and see other people’s babies, dogs, cats, well, maybe not the cats…

It’s a game changer.

In addition to becoming adopters, the homeowners in Grinnell Lofts also granted a construction easement and a permanent drainage easement to the Atlanta BeltLine. A special thank you goes out to the Grinnellians and Dennis and Faye for your support of the Atlanta BeltLine!

Does adopting a stretch of the corridor seem like a good fit for your organization? Learn more about our Adopt the Atlanta BeltLine program here!  And check out our other Adopt the Atlanta BeltLine volunteer spotlights.

Grinnell Lofts Adopt the Atlanta BeltLine clean-up day
Grinnell Lofts adopted their stretch of the Atlanta BeltLine before concrete even started to pour on the Eastside Trail!

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