[Images via Historic Mims Park YouTube video.]
The dream of bringing a Civil Rights-inspired green space to the Vine City and English Avenue neighborhoods — in the shadow of the Atlanta Falcons' new coliseum — is putting some fundraising money where its mouth is. On the same week that English Avenue debuted its first park, a functional space consuming six abandoned lots, the AJC reports the Historic Mims Park project has received a $1.6 million boost. Rodney Mims Cook Jr., who's co-spearheading the project (alongside none other than Ambassador Andrew Young) as president of the National Monuments Foundation, said the cash came from "multiple donations" — but apparently not the Falcons — and will now enable the nonprofit to truly ramp up fundraising efforts. The park idea has been percolating since at least 2012, when the Atlanta City Council approved plans for it. Last winter, Cook told Curbed the process had been delayed by soil studies and changes in scope, but he predicted the vision would start making news again by the end of 2015.
More specifically, the vision calls for an 18-acre park — that's slightly bigger than Historic Fourth Ward Park — with fountains, a lake, a massive "peace column," a "Peace Pantheon" building and sculptures paying homage to historic leaders. Those lucky immortalized souls would include Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife, Chief Tomochichi and Booker T. Washington. Cook's father, Rodney Mims Cook Sr., a former legislator and ally of the Civil Rights Movement, could also be honored with a statue, the AJC reports.
Before anyone goes launching a new-park parade, however, consider that cost estimates for Mims Park have run as high as $55 million. The site also has an issue with storm-water management, but the city is actively designing a solution for that, alongside plans for the overall park, a spokesperson told the newspaper.
So who chipped in that $1.6 million? "San Francisco-based tech leader Joe Lonsdale pledged $1 million to the effort, with $600,000 committed by donors Matthew Middelthon, Jimmy Warren, Rawson Haverty and Lucinda Bunnen," writes the AJC. Noticeably absent, for whatever reason, is a Blank check.