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Atlanta Parks

Stephannie Stokes / WABE

A new kind of project could be coming to Atlanta’s Memorial Drive. It’s being dubbed a “park-oriented development.”

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According to the developers, it would be a mixed-use project designed around a greenspace that's planned for the area.

But the development is facing pushback from some who claim it could put the park it’s geared toward in jeopardy.

Alison Guillory / WABE

Friday afternoon, there's a groundbreaking for a new park on Atlanta’s Westside. Cook Park will honor civil rights leaders. It will also help with long-term flooding and pollution in the area.

Karen Clarke / Trust for Public Land

The Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area has expanded by bits and pieces since it was created in the 1970s. The park's property adds up to about 7,000 acres in patches along nearly 50 miles of the Chattahoochee River, from Lake Lanier down to the city of Atlanta.

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New Community House Opens In English Avenue

Mar 31, 2017
The Mattie Freeland Community House is officially open in English Avenue.
Miranda Hawkins / WABE

It was a clear, warm day as English Avenue residents came together on Friday to honor a longtime member of the neighborhood. A red ribbon draped across the porch of a little home with purple pillars and a yellow door.

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The Mattie Freeland Community House was officially open.

A raised flower bed in Mattie Freeland Park, with the words 'We Are Better Together' painted on the side.
Molly Samuel / WABE

The Atlanta neighborhood of English Avenue doesn't have many parks, but there's one that a community got together and built themselves in honor of a local resident who was like a grandmother to her neighbors.

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Mattie Freeland was the kind of woman who always shared her food and checked in on people, say people who knew her. They called her "Miss Mattie." She passed away several years ago, but the park that’s grown next door to her house was sort of her idea.

Conceptual rendering by HDR, Inc. courtesy of The Trust for Public Land

The Atlanta neighborhood of Vine City, just west of the new Falcons stadium, is getting a new park.

It will have fountains, a playground and an open lawn. There will be statues honoring Civil Rights leaders with connections to the neighborhood, including Martin Luther King Jr. and Julian Bond. The park will also help address flooding issues that have plagued the area for years.

Courtesy of National Monuments Foundation

A years-long effort to recreate a historic park on Atlanta's Westside is facing pushback.

Mims Park was originally named after Livingston Mims, the 37th mayor of Atlanta and a Confederate soldier. Mims donated the land.

Eventually, though, that park on Northside Drive was developed over by an elementary school. And for years, Mims' distant nephew Rodney Mims Cook Jr. has pushed to build it again.

That plan is finally moving forward for a 16-acre site south of Joseph E. Boone Boulevard. The city of Atlanta recently called it a "catalyst for economic development."

MAP: Atlanta Dog Parks That Will Please Your Pup

Aug 26, 2016
Greets newcomer to the park
Alison Guillory / WABE

Dog owners can pamper their special canine in any number of ways: an extra long walk, some special treats, a much-needed bath.

But sometimes all a city-dwelling dog needs is a chance to frolic unchained in an open field.

While many parks have strict rules about keeping your dog on a leash, some Atlanta greenspaces have special enclosures just for pups. There, dogs can wrestle and play without being yanked on the collar, and dog owners can bond over their mutual appreciation of man's best friend.

Courtesy of Piedmont Park Conservancy

One of the most popular trees in Piedmont Park – a stately magnolia near the bridge between the two lakes – toppled over in late July when its root plate cracked. The city quickly cut it down because it posed a danger to the public.

Growing up, my favorite tree to climb was that same magnolia tree in Piedmont Park. It had limbs stretched out like welcoming arms.

Almost every day, one could see people posing for photos next to the tree or sitting on one of the grand limbs reaching out at a perfect height for perching.

Daddy D'z BBQ Joynt on Memorial Drive in Atlanta.
Rob Holland /

  Nonprofit Park Pride is seeking public feedback on a potential linear park between Oakland Cemetery and downtown Atlanta. But exact plans for the three-quarter-mile greenway on Memorial Drive are far from concrete.

One thing that's up in the air: What to do with businesses now operating in the proposed park's path?

Mary Claire Kelly / WABE

On a pollen-saturated spring morning, Panola Mountain naturalist and interpretive ranger Lieren Forbes hops and twirls in her khaki uniform on a rock outcrop of the mountain. The exercise, which Forbes calls "Stay on the Gray," is similar to the children's game "The Floor Is Lava," but it's not just for fun.

John Minchillo / Associated Press

Wednesday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

Georgia 400
Al Such / WABE

Imagine if the interstates crisscrossing Atlanta were topped with greenspace.

With its proposed nine-acre park over Georgia-400, the Buckhead Community Improvement District could make that happen in Atlanta’s affluent but park-deficient neighborhood. The group has already put out a call for design proposals and will decide whether to advance the Buckhead park idea as early as this month.

Brenna Beech / WABE

Atlanta is beginning work on what will become a reservoir holding an emergency backup water supply for the city. Right now, it's Bellwood Quarry, a gargantuan hole in the ground west of Midtown, set in what will one day be the city's largest park.

Andrew Kalat /

A decade-long effort to expand Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park may be getting closer to succeeding. The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to consider a resolution on Wednesday that would add eight acres to the park that include a hill and a very old house. 

Buckhead CID

An idea to build a park over Georgia 400 seems to be gaining traction. The Buckhead Community Improvement District (CID) is asking firms to submit proposed plans for the park.

The park would bridge the areas on either side of Ga. 400 in Buckhead near Lenox Square. Since there is not much available land for a park in Buckhead, the idea is to use the air.

Although the Buckhead CID issued a request for proposals this week, that doesn't necessarily mean the park will actually be built.

Stone Mountain Park is planning to add an attraction in which thrill seekers can leap down to an inflatable air bag 20 feet below.

The park hopes to open the "The Jump," during the first week of April when many metro schools will be on spring break, park spokeswoman Jeanine Jones told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Candace Wheeler / WABE

 Lindsay Street Park has opened in Atlanta.

It is the first park in the city's troubled English Avenue neighborhood.

"We have a mission to expand green space throughout the city of Atlanta and to place a park as close to all of the citizens of Atlanta as we can," said Mayor Kasim Reed.

Brenna Beech / WABE


The long, hot Southern summer is over, and winter feels like it’s just around the corner.

But there’s so much to soak up outdoors at hundreds of parks and recreational areas in metro Atlanta as a beautiful autumn unfolds.

If you can’t decide exactly what to do, have a family set on doing different things, or don’t want to venture too far from home, you may want to consider the handful of parks and recreation options designed for a variety of activities.

Alison Guillory / WABE

As South Carolina struggled this week not only with floods, but also with a shortage of drinking water, Atlanta leaders worked to make sure if a disaster strikes here, the city will have a backup water supply.

Commentary: Piedmont Park Is Being 'Loved To Death'

Sep 29, 2015
Alex Caplow, Sam Lee, Justine Bowe, Gabe Goodman and Joey Sulkowski as Magic Man performs during Music Midtown 2014 at Piedmont Park on Saturday, Sep. 20, 2014, in Atlanta.
Katie Darby / AP

The 2015 Music Midtown just wrapped up Sept. 20 in Piedmont Park ─ the fifth time the music festival has been held in Atlanta's signature park. Every year, Music Midtown and the surrounding neighborhoods struggle over a myriad of issues ─ from lanes being shut down to the area of the park being closed off before, during and after the festival. 

True confessions: I love Music Midtown.

Some homeowners in the Peoplestown neighborhood say the city of Atlanta is unfairly forcing them out of their homes to build a park.

The city says the park and incorporated retention ponds are necessary because the area between Ormond Street and Atlanta Avenue, bookended by Greenfield Street and Connally Street, is prone to serious flooding and sewage backups.

Ninety-three-year-old Mattie Jackson told the city's Urban Design Commission on Wednesday that she’s lived on that block for nearly 50 years.

On opening day, Barbara Nesin puts the finishing touches on the "Boulderbeast," named for Bouldercrest Road, in the background.
Kate Sweeney / WABE

An East Atlanta neighborhood park, built entirely by the people who live there, is now open to the public.

The yet-unnamed park, at the corners of Flat Shoals and Bouldercrest roads, was constructed out of materials that were free or cheap, such as raised garden beds built from wood pallets and a giant painted climbing dragon made from found tires.

Marie Dietz-Meyer, who lives just around the corner from the park, knows those tires only too well. They sat in her backyard for several weeks.

Zlatko Unger /

The state of Georgia has a varied environment – from mountains, forests and swamps to beaches, bogs and the urban jungle.

A series of trails wind through the various terrain and now a group of trail enthusiasts is working to try and connect these pathways throughout the state.

The second annual Georgia Trails Summit will convene in Athens next month to address that effort and other issues.

“We call it a world class network of connected trails in Georgia,” summit organizer Tracie Sanchez said during an interview on “A Closer Look.”

Decatur Eyes Property For New Park Near Avondale Marta

May 12, 2015
Decatur considers new park


There could soon be a new park on Decatur’s east side.

If the city is able to reach an agreement with AT&T, the park would be next to the Avondale Marta Station along Columbia Drive and College Avenue.

The city is currently in talks with the telecommunications company for land AT&T currently uses as an office and a storage site for vehicles. 

“This particular piece of property is one we have looked at and considered for a long time as this district begins to change,” says Lyn Menne, Decatur's assistant city manager.

The old Atlanta Prison Farm dormitories are now covered in graffiti.
Mary Claire Kelly / WABE

Right near the federal penitentiary on the south side of town, there’s a plot of land known as the old Atlanta Prison Farm. It’s owned by the city, but is outside the city limits in DeKalb County. That’s one reason the land is overgrown and the buildings have decayed, but a group called "Save the old Atlanta Prison Farm" hopes to turn the area into a park that could be one of the biggest in the region.  

Frances Blackmon lives one house down in this quiet neighborhood. She said that, in the two decades or so she’s lived here, she’s never set foot on the property.

Don DeBold /

A new dog park is coming to the Old Fourth Ward this month – called Freedom Barkway.

The off-leash park will use about two acres of public land along Freedom Parkway near Boulevard, said Wayne Reimer, president of Old Fourth Freedom Barkway Corporation.

The first phase of the park is set to open on March 21.

Mary Claire Kelly / WABE

Council member Julian Bond says he wants the city of Atlanta to turn unused school properties – to which the city holds the deeds – into public parks.

He says the city is growing quickly, but doesn’t have enough green space, and it's not clear how much land is sitting empty, so he says the first step is to catalog it.

Stephannie Stokes / WABE

Today, the Cheshire Bridge Road corridor is known for being, well, diverse. It’s a mix of decades-old businesses and, in more recent years, adult entertainment venues.

But tucked away, behind all the development, there is actually a creek running through the area. And now there's also a trail to explore it.

Beautiful City: A Hidden Buckhead Park Under The Highway

Oct 1, 2014
Stephannie Stokes/WABE

"Beautiful City" is WABE's series about places to get away from Atlanta without leaving the city.

Today, we head to North Buckhead. Despite being one of the most affluent communities in Atlanta, it actually has less park space than any other neighborhood.

But its residents are working to change that -- by developing some of the hidden and unused spaces around them. WABE’s Stephannie Stokes has the story of one of these parks: the Mountain Way Common.