The movement to create Atlanta Waterworks Park isn't so grassroots any more. The initiative keeps padding its coffers, holding high-profile fundraisers and now has the public support of Mayor Kasim Reed and top Beltline honchos. Talk of reopening the grounds — a public park for many decades, prior to the Centennial Olympic Games — has been going on for years, but in recent months these more substantive efforts have caught the eye of government officials and local media. Most recently, Westside Provisions District held a "high-energy fall fashion show" last month and raised $10,000 for the grassroots Friends of Atlanta Waterworks, the group working to make the Westside preserve public-accessible again, according to a spokesperson. That followed another "friendraiser" this year at Monday Night Brewing, which tallied $17,000. Supporters seem to feel the ball could really get rolling in 2015.
Like developers, residents and businesses with vested interests in the area, Reed seems committed to seeing the Waterworks vision play out. He's selected a team of senior staff to oversee its progress, in fact. According to a press release, "The effort will be led by JoAnn MaCrina, commissioner of the Department of Watershed Management, with support from Parks and Recreation and Atlanta Beltline, Inc. and city council representatives Yolanda Adrean and Andre Dickens who continue to show their support as key role players in these efforts."
Prior to the Olympics, the Atlanta Waterworks property at 17th Street and Howell Mill Road hosted running races and allowed for leisurely strolls. Concerns of terrorists poisoning Atlanta's water supply during the Olympics necessitated fences that have encircled the property ever since.
According to Reed and company, if a new-and-improved park opens, it'll serve more purposes than simply being a waterside picnic spot with killer views. Plans call for renovating the Waterworks facility, which is nearly a century old, and beefing up a system to increase a growing city's water supply. "With this new system, water will be pumped from the Chattahoochee River to the new connection at the Bellwood Quarry," the release states, "with an extension through the Waterworks property, increasing the city's water supply from the current seven-day reserve to more than 30 days."
Take that, Historic Fourth Ward Park.
Chris Palmer, a Friends of Atlanta Waterworks group member, tells Curbed Atlanta that several more fundraisers are being planned for 2015. It's still unclear as to when the fences might come down. "As far as timeline," Palmer said via email, "we're still waiting to hear more from city officials."
Firm dates for upcoming fundraisers are still being finalized.
· Atlanta Waterworks Park Scores Possible Funding Victory [Curbed Atlanta]
· Which Westside Super Park Does Atlanta Need More? [Curbed]