|The Historic Fourth Ward Park is owned by the City of Atlanta. The Conservancy has been invited to participate in a stakeholder capacity on the design of the Park. All design and construction related activities are the responsibility of Atlanta Beltline Inc. and the City of Atlanta. The City of Atlanta is responsible for the operation, maintenance and security of this Park. Please contact the Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs at 404.546.6745 if you have any questions or concerns about these issues.
After the unveiling of the BeltLine in 2004, the small group’s timeline escalated toward greenspace preservation, as the area began to attract the attention of developers. Property control was clearly the most difficult obstacle. Nearly half the proposed park was in the control of likely supporters, but several critical pieces were not. The group recognized that a supporter willing to bring major resources to the table was desperately needed.
The Trust for Public Land (TPL) was approached a few months later. Because so much advance diligence and disposition information was compiled about Historic Fourth Ward Park by the PAC, TPL’s decision to be supportive was fostered. Consequently, in 2005 TPL’s first four allocations made for the future park were its first purchases made for all of the Atlanta BeltLine. By the end of 2005, TPL had secured almost ten acres.
As this was taking place, Mayor Shirley Franklin formed the BeltLine Coalition, and the TAD funding was passed at year’s end. This enabled the as-yet-unnamed Park to be slated as the first new Atlanta BeltLine park.
During 2005 and 2006, the group reached out at the neighborhood level and strategies were discussed with the Neighborhood Planning Units on how to combine greenspace with a higher density urban neighborhood. A list of development standards was crafted that would support a “quality of life” focus, specifically how properties should interface with the proposed park. This marks the beginning of how City policy began to be affected toward a more sustainable community.
By 2007, the small group grew to include twelve development entities whose properties lie in both the Old Fourth Ward and Poncey-Highlands neighborhoods. A dues-paying coalition was formed called the Park Area Coalition (PAC). Several of the original participants of the small group still played strong leadership roles, while the park design was consistently refined and altered to reflect the changing ownership and redevelopment plans by each developer as they came on board.
Over the last half of 2007, the PAC worked closely with Atlanta BeltLine Inc. (ABI) to devise an updated plan that reflected both the neighborhood’s and the PAC’s wishes, and the current realities of available properties and funding. Since the group had been working on the park for four years, it had a clearly defined vision and a successful plan that everyone could support.
After a visit from the PAC, the Woodruff Foundation pledged $8 million for land acquisition for the Park, the combination of which would allow a first phase of 10-15 acres to be completed in the next 2 to 3 years.