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proctor creek

There are big things happening on the west side of Atlanta right now. The city is creating large parks and a trail that will connect to the BeltLine, all part of the long-term cleanup of Proctor Creek.

Alison Guillory / WABE

Neighborhoods on Atlanta’s Westside are changing. Mercedes-Benz Stadium construction is wrapping up; the BeltLine is coming. And what has been a blighted creek could eventually become an amenity. But some residents are concerned that efforts to fix Proctor Creek could eventually price them out.

Alison Guillory / WABE

Proctor Creek flows from downtown Atlanta across dozens of neighborhoods to the Chattahoochee River. There has been ongoing work to address flooding and pollution the creek

There is also a new project aimed at connection people to the creek — and to each other. 

Alison Guillory / WABE

Proctor Creek has been a problem for residents of 35 northwest Atlanta neighborhoods for a long time. It’s polluted. It floods.

That’s changing, though. 

Billions of dollars' worth of upgrades to the city's sewer system and plans for a series of parks address the long-running issues with the creek. 

Alison Guillory / WABE

Some of the rain that falls in downtown Atlanta eventually forms Proctor Creek, which flows through the west side of the city and into the Chattahoochee River. Like the rest of Atlanta's creeks, Proctor Creek is polluted. But it still has wildlife living in it. Scientists are learning more about the health of the creek and its critters by studying crayfish.  

  A longer version of this story was published and aired last fall. 

Alison Guillory / WABE

Proctor Creek flows out of downtown Atlanta through the west side of the city. There have long been problems with the health of the creek, especially flooding and pollution. 

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That can lead to health problems for the people who live near the creek, which flows through 35 Atlanta neighborhoods on its way to the Chattahoochee River.

Alison Guillory / WABE

There’s a polluted waterway that runs from downtown Atlanta to the Chattahoochee River. It’s called Proctor Creek.

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For decades, it’s caused problems for people who live near it.  Now, there’s a lot more attention on the future of the creek, and neighborhoods on the Westside.

This is part of a continuing series about Proctor Creek that airs on "Morning Edition" with WABE host Denis O'Hayer.

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

Atlanta broke ground Friday on a big new park, just west of downtown. Cook Park, in Vine City, will have statues honoring Civil Rights leaders. It’s also being built to alleviate flooding on the Westside.

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Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said the park will be a new Atlanta landmark.

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.

Alison Guillory / WABE

A court date is scheduled in the fight over the future of an Atlanta site where convicts were forced to work in terrible conditions.

Alison Guillory / WABE

Some fish that live in one of Atlanta's creeks, a tributary to the Chattahoochee River, have elevated levels of chemicals in their bodies, including pesticides that went out of use in the 1980s.

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Proctor Creek, on Atlanta’s Westside, has had issues with e. coli and fecal coliform bacteria caused by sewer overflows, but a new report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency documents man-made toxic chemicals in fish caught at a fishing spot in Bankhead, near Maddox Park.

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.

Alison Guillory / WABE

From its headwaters near the Georgia Dome and the Atlanta University Center to where it empties into the Chattahoochee River near the Perimeter, all of Proctor Creek is inside the city of Atlanta. And city life can be hard on a creek: Big storms make it flood; sewers overflow into it; there’s illegal dumping; and when it rains, the water running off the roads carries trash and chemicals into the creek.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium
David Goldman / Associated Press

When the Super Bowl comes to Atlanta, it will take place in one of the greenest stadiums in the country, and builders aren’t just focusing on efficient appliances and solar panels – though Mercedes-Benz Stadium will have those.

“[It’s] going to be the most water-efficient stadium in the United States,” said William Johnson, interim commissioner of Atlanta’s Department of Watershed Management, at the U.S. Water Alliance summit in Atlanta Thursday.  

The stadium is being built in a way that could help nearby west Atlanta neighborhoods with long-running flooding issues.

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.

USEPA Environmental-Protection-Agency / flickr.com/photos/usepagov/

Climate change, air quality and water pollution are not just environmental issues; they also affect people's health.

In Atlanta, the city is working on cleaning up long-running issues of flooding and pollution in neighborhoods along Proctor Creek, on the city’s west side.

Georgia Power is beginning to close its coal ash ponds, which hold a byproduct from burning coal that can contaminate water.