Grassroots efforts to open a sorely needed public greenspace near Atlanta Waterworks for the city’s burgeoning Westside have been percolating for a decade. Or more.
That work, as initiative leaders announced today, is officially paying off.
The Upper Westside Improvement District has inked a memorandum of understanding with the Atlanta Department of Watershed Management that will create a passive greenspace on land—occupied only by trees now—where Northside Drive meets 17th Street, up the hill from IKEA.
On the northwest corner of that intersection, neighboring the fenced-off Atlanta City Waterworks Hemphill Reservoir, expect four and a half public acres with views of Midtown and downtown.
The underutilized parcel will be transformed over several construction phases, which should launch soon. Eventually, the cleaned-up hill will have mulch trails, new signage, and benches for taking in the dramatic city vistas.
Long championed as an ideal park site by grassroots Friends of Atlanta Waterworks Park, the land is kitty-corner from the 12.5-acre tract where Fuqua Development is building a Kroger, Chipotle, self-storage facility, and more. It’s just south of the first phase of upscale Accent Waterworks apartments.
The future greenspace is next door, to the east, of the fenced reservoir, which will remain off-limits. It’s unclear for now what the city plans to do with that acreage, a rep tells Curbed Atlanta.
“This high-profile corner will be an asset for the Upper Westside for years to come,” said Elizabeth Hollister of the Upper Westside Community District, which worked with the city, former Atlanta City Councilmember Yolanda Adrean, and the Department of Watershed Management to reach the agreement, backed by the park group and the Berkeley Park Neighborhood Association.
The land around the waterworks reservoir had been a public greenspace for a century, until Atlanta city officials erected chain-link fencing and declared it off-limits prior to the Centennial Olympic Games, citing terrorism concerns with the water source.
Since then, the surrounding district has morphed into a vibrant dining and shopping destination with thousands of new residents—but nary a significant park in sight.
Officials with the Upper Westside CID—which stretches Howell Mill Road from Collier Road to down beyond Marietta Street—are in the process of selecting a contractor for the greenspace’s initial site work.
Phase one should wrap by the summer, they say, with the goal being to finish the project by the third quarter of 2018.