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Hurt Park in downtown Atlanta destined for major makeover

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Plans call for restoration of historic features, addition of performance area

Hurt Park sits at the center of the Georgia State University campus, but rather than a favorite hangout for students, it's more a hotspot for homeless Atlantans.

First opened in 1940, the park was a crowning achievement of Mayor William B. Hartsfield, according to the Saporta Report, but through the years has lost its glamour with the decentralization of downtown. While the university has been a major catalyst for neighborhood development, the park has remained much as it was in downtown’s darkest days.

But now, plans are afoot to restore the park’s former glory.

In fact, the university is planning to regrade the whole park to add a sloping grassy lawn, linked to an enlarged sidewalk running across the top of the park. This paved area will also serve as a stage for performances, with the grassy lawn — normally used for recreational sports and lounging — doubling as seating for spectators.

The project's funding and timeline are still being determined by the university, but the improvements could be a boon beyond the campus. Located along the Atlanta Streetcar line, the revamped park could become another attraction for visitors, possibly encouraging more use of the transit option.

In the long run, there are hopes to restore the original fountain, which featured a light show at night.