June 13, 2016
Nonprofits and Partners Commit to Building Boone Park West in the Proctor Creek Watershed

ATLANTA—Park Pride, The Conservation Fund and partners announced today a “Commitment to Action” to encourage economic growth and opportunity for those living within Atlanta’s Proctor Creek Watershed at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) America Meeting. The neighborhoods within the Proctor Creek Watershed, including Vine City and English Avenue, have long suffered from the negative effects of combined sewer overflows, economic disinvestment, social and educational challenges, and lack of greenspace. 

The commitment launched at CGI America to “Build Community with Green Infrastructure & Parks” focuses on the conversion of several blighted urban lots within the Proctor Creek Watershed into a vibrant park to be known as Boone Park West. Further, the commitment proposes additional benefits related to the park’s development—community engagement in park design and construction, education of community residents in green infrastructure solutions, and access to jobs and workforce training for residents—all of which will serve to catalyze economic revitalization for the surrounding community.

Boone Park West is part of a larger green infrastructure vision (Proctor Creek North Avenue Green Infrastructure Vision, Park Pride, 2010) that addresses the lack of greenspace and the need for stormwater solutions in the headwaters of the Proctor Creek Watershed. A key component of Boone Park West will be a green infrastructure amenity designed to capture, clean and infiltrate at least 37,500 cubic feet of stormwater runoff from the surrounding streets, mitigating the recurrent flooding that has historically plagued these neighborhoods.

Park Pride, the nonprofit in Atlanta that works with communities to activate the power of parks, will facilitate a community-directed process to develop the park masterplan and ensure that the resulting greenspace meets the needs of the communities it serves. The Conservation Fund will support this community initiative, in addition to serving as the lead in property acquisition for all remaining lots. Other project partners include The City of Atlanta’s Department of Parks and Recreation, The City of Atlanta’s Office of Sustainability, the University Community Development Corporation, the Proctor Creek Stewardship Council, Chattahoochee Riverkeeper and Greening Youth Foundation.

“Our Commitment to Action recognizes the role parks and greenspace can play in making Atlanta a more sustainable city,” said Michael Halicki, Park Pride’s Executive Director. “We are excited to have this opportunity to connect with the Clinton Global Initiative and thought leaders from around the country and to advance solutions to the challenges facing urban areas across the United States.”

Boone Park West will serve as an invaluable amenity to the community, providing residents in Vine City and English Avenue with a place to relax, exercise, play with their families, and meet their neighbors.

 “By working in partnership with foundations, corporations, government agencies, other nonprofit organizations, and most importantly, with the local communities, we can meet the needs of area residents,” said Stacy Funderburke, The Conservation Fund’s Assistant Regional Counsel & Real Estate Associate. “This will be a Park with Purpose, providing environmental, economic and social justice benefits that improve the health and quality of life for everyone in the Proctor Creek Watershed.”

The nonprofits are attending the CGI annual meeting in Atlanta with the hopes of finding new partners who support the vision for the Westside and for Boone Park West, and who will commit to helping make this park a reality for the residents of the Proctor Creek Watershed.

About Park Pride:
Founded in 1989, Park Pride is the Atlanta-based nonprofit that engages communities to activate the power of parks. Working with 90 local Friends of the Park groups, Park Pride provides leadership and services to help communities realize their dreams for neighborhood parks that support healthy people, strong neighborhoods, vibrant business districts, a robust economy and a healthy environment. Park Pride is active in greenspace advocacy and educating both civic leaders and the general public about the benefits of parks, and annually hosts the Parks and Greenspace Conference. Learn more about Park Pride at www.parkpride.org.

About The Conservation Fund:
At The Conservation Fund, we make conservation work for America. By creating solutions that make environmental and economic sense, we are redefining conservation to demonstrate its essential role in our future prosperity. Top-ranked for efficiency and effectiveness, we have worked in all 50 states since 1985 to protect more than 7.5 million acres of land.

About Clinton Global Initiative:
Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) America brings together leaders from the business, philanthropic, nonprofit, and government sectors to develop solutions that encourage economic growth, support long-term competitiveness, and increase social mobility in the United States. CGI America’s annual convening is designed to be a working meeting that promotes collaboration. Each CGI America participant makes a Commitment to Action: a new, specific, and measurable plan that supports increased economic growth and opportunity. To date, CGI America participants have made more than 500 commitments, which have improved the lives of nearly 2.4 million people.

About the City of Atlanta Department of Parks and Recreation:
The City of Atlanta Department of Parks and Recreation is committed to building strong communities and a vibrant economy by providing safe and exceptional parks, facilities, and programs. The Department of Parks and Recreation operates and maintains more than 400 parks and greenspaces. The city’s recreational and cultural facilities vary from small recreation centers to large cultural and unique amenities such as natatoriums, spray grounds and emerging sports courts. In January 2011 and in 2013, the department built upon earlier pilot projects to transform ten facilities into Centers of Hope. The city now operates 33 recreation centers, with 15 being Centers of Hope.

About the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability:
The Mayor’s Office of Sustainability is focused on embedding sustainability best practices into Atlanta city government and across the community. Addressing sustainability of our cities is a complex undertaking, requiring an understanding and respect for the interconnected nature of environmental issues, and collaboration across all traditional jurisdictions, geographies and expertise. Meeting Atlanta’s sustainability goals requires complementary efforts at different scales, where everyone is relevant, everyone has a role and everyone has a responsibility to work towards the Atlanta we all want our children to inherit.

About the Proctor Creek Stewardship Council:
The Proctor Creek Stewardship Council is a community-based grassroots organization consisting of people living and working in the Proctor Creek watershed basin and partners working together for the restoration, preservation and protection of Proctor Creek and its communities. The Stewardship Council is made up of residents representing the entire watershed and is supported by partner organizations including: Community Improvement Association, ECO-Action and West Atlanta Watershed Alliance.

About Chattahoochee Riverkeeper:
Chattahoochee Riverkeeper’s mission is to protect and preserve the Chattahoochee River, its lakes and tributaries for the people, fish and wildlife that depend upon it. For more information, visit www.chattahoochee.org.

About Greening Youth Foundation:
The Greening Youth Foundation (GYF) is the leading youth serving organization in the United States focused on natural resource management careers for young people from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds. The GYF workforce development model helps youth participants develop soft skills such as dependability, punctuality, work site etiquette, financial literacy and facts driven problem solving.

The University Community Development Corporation:
The University Community Development Corporation (UCDC) is a not for profit community based corporation that has been the catalyst for developing sustainable communities in and around the Atlanta University Center (AUC). UCDC’s mission is to create safe, vibrant and healthy sustainable communities through economic and social development initiatives, and has positioned itself to provide support and services to the AUC member institutions and the surrounding community.

Media Contacts:
Michael Halicki | Park Pride | (o) (404) 546-7970, (c) (404) 272-2924 | michael@parkpride.org
Rachel Maher | Park Pride | (o) (404) 546-7969 (c) (404) 590-6211) | rachel@parkpride.org
Ann Simonelli | The Conservation Fund | (703) 908-5809 | asimonelli@conservationfund.org
Stacy Funderburke | The Conservation Fund | (404) 221-0405 | sfunderburke@conservationfund.org