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Reopening Atlanta Waterworks: Worth The Risk?

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It sounds like grassroots efforts to reopen Atlanta Waterworks as a public park are gaining traction in Westside, an area buzzing with residential and commercial activity but still sorely lacking in greenspace. Several years ago, nearby residents started floating the idea of bringing down the chain-link fencing that has encircled the Howell Mill Road reservoir since just before the 1996 Olympics. The idea, as outlined in this Facebook campaign, is to instantly create a city park and picnickers' paradise. (The northern end of the park offers a stunning view of Buckhead; Midtown and downtown vistas would be prominent from wherever picnickers choose to sit.) Now, as Creative Loafing reports, important people are starting to listen. One Atlanta City councilwoman told CL a proposal to reopen Waterworks could come as early as January or February, though officials with the city's parks and water departments stressed that plans are nascent at this point.

The fencing was erected as an anti-terrorism move prior to the Olympics to keep out scoundrels who might want to put bad things in Atlanta's drinking water. Another concern is that people could slip down the lake's steep banks and become trapped. The question: Do those concerns warrant cordoning off an obvious asset that could do wonders for the neighbor(s)?

Actually, another question: Will chain-link fencing really thwart someone determined to poison Atlantans? After his landslide re-election, Mayor Kasim Reed again vowed to enhance the city's slate of park space, and this could be an easy get, even if the city has to assume control of the grassy areas and maintain them.

More questions: Out of curiosity, does anyone recall what the park was like prior to the Olympics? Was it well-maintained? Did people actually use it back then?

· Initial talks are underway to reopen Atlanta Waterworks [Creative Loafing]