Today, the grassroots movement to turn a fenced-offed reservoir and green space into Atlanta Waterworks Park took a positive step toward being a real public amenity — and a sorely needed park on the western fringes of Midtown. Atlanta Councilwoman Yolanda Adrean announced via Twitter that the Waterworks project has been shortlisted for a proposed 2015 bond referendum the city is putting together. We haven't heard even ballpark estimates on what Waterworks Park would cost, but the potential funding seems appropriate in this case, in that the bond is meant to cover infrastructure shortfalls and expand Atlanta's green spaces. "This is a huge get for folks living in West Midtown," Justin Nihiser, who operates the Waterworks Facebook page, wrote in an email to Curbed Atlanta. Nihiser and company are now calling for green-space-loving denizens of Atlanta to voice support for the Waterworks vision.
Earlier this year, officials in Mayor Kasim Reed's office said Hizzoner is committed to addressing a backlog of more than $900 million in necessary infrastructure fixes. At no extra cost to taxpayers, the infrastructure bond would bolster Atlanta's parks and aim to fix streets, bridges, sidewalks, street lights, traffic signals and signs, in addition to repairing fire stations, police stations and rec centers, Reed's office said.
Nihiser notes that the park "needs very little remediation to allow citizens to use the grounds."
Prior to the Centennial Olympic Games, the Atlanta Waterworks property at 17th and Howell Mill Road was a public park space. Concerns of terrorists poisoning Atlanta's water supply during the Olympics necessitated fences that have encircled the property ever since. Talk of reopening the grounds has been going on for years, but in recent months substantive efforts have gained traction and gathered news coverage. A recent "friendraiser" at Monday Night Brewing tallied $17,000, and the project's Facebook page has racked up more than 1,000 "Likes."
Nihiser wrote to the project's Facebook followers: "Most importantly, please attend the upcoming bond meetings around ATL and emphasize that our citizens want the Waterworks green space to be a priority on this bond list."
Here's the schedule of September meetings, where public input on the bond referendum will be collected. Each meeting lasts from 6 to 8 p.m.
Today: Atlanta Metro State College, 1630 Metropolitan Pkwy. 30310
Sept. 11: Atlanta Speech School, 3160 Northside Parkway. 30305
Sept. 18: Adamsville Recreation Center, 3201 MLK Jr Dr. 30311
Sept. 23: John Birdine Recreation Center, 215 Lakewood Way 30315
Sept. 25: Atlanta City Hall (Old Council Chambers), 68 Mitchell St. 30303
Sept. 30: Piedmont Hospital Sheperd Ctr. Auditorium, 2020 Peachtree Rd. 30309