The neighborhoods within Atlanta’s 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. Working in partnership with Park Pride, a local nonprofit focused on improving Atlanta’s park system and the City of Atlanta Department of Parks & Recreation and Office of Sustainability, we are implementing a broad plan (Proctor Creek North Avenue Green Infrastructure Vision, Park Pride, 2010) for the two neighborhoods that uses natural greenspaces as a way to reduce polluted stormwater flooding that greatly impacts these communities.

In order to creating lasting change, these parks are being built through a community-driven process that incorporates and elevates the leadership of area residents. We are working with neighborhood based groups, such as Community Improvement Association and the English Avenue Neighborhood Association, and grassroots environmental groups, including the Proctor Creek Stewardship Council and West Atlanta Watershed Alliance.

Our goal is to ensure that those who have been most impacted in these neighborhoods are given an opportunity to participate and benefit from improvements planned for their communities. Residents will be involved in the visioning, planning and construction of this new park. Partnerships with Greening Youth Foundation and Georgia Build-Up will provide workforce training and job opportunities that will enhance residents’ skill sets and improve their economic outlook. Environmental education partners including Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, ECO-Action and the University Center Development Corporation will help increase ecological awareness among residents, who will become the environmental stewards of the new parks.

Kathryn Johnston Memorial Park, Community Vision. Credit: Park Design by HGOR


As a Park With Purpose, Kathryn Johnston Memorial Park will provide the following benefits to the surrounding communities:

  • Neighbors will be encouraged and empowered to participate in the planning and redevelopment of their community, ensuring they have a voice in the process.
  • Residents will receive paid training in construction, masonry, landscaping and green infrastructure design, as well as financial literacy and other soft skills. They will be employed in the construction of the park.
  • Rain gardens, constructed wetlands and other green infrastructure features will capture stormwater runoff from adjacent streets, reducing the negative impacts of flooding and improving water quality.
  • Ecological functions will be restored in the one of the lowest lying areas of the upper Proctor Creek Watershed.
  • Community members will participate in environmental education and citizen science opportunities, where they will learn about green infrastructure and urban ecology.
  • Blighted and vacant properties will be transformed into a vibrant community asset, providing an anchor for additional investment.
  • Native plants will be incorporated to ensure urban habitat is available for native wildlife, including important pollinators like bees, birds and butterflies that support local food systems.

Kathryn Johnston Memorial Park, Ribbon Cutting Ceremony. Credit: Kelsi Eccles, The Conservation Fund


We believe successful conservation should provide long-term community benefits. In addition to providing land acquisition services for our government partners, we engage the community and help plan, design and implement park projects that balance environmental, economic and social benefits. The Conservation Fund, Park Pride, City of Atlanta and many other Atlanta partners are working to build on our successful model that leverages partnerships, funding, community assets and expertise to create these important Parks With Purpose.



Credit: Park Pride


AEC Trust
City of Atlanta
Bonneville Environmental Foundation
Chattahoochee Riverkeeper
Community Improvement Association
Community Residents
David, Helen, and Marian Woodward Fund
Dorothy & Charlie Yates Family Fund
English Avenue Neighborhood Association
EPA Region 4
Georgia-Pacific Foundation
Greening Youth Foundation
Imlay Foundation
Invest Atlanta Westside TAD Grant
Mayor’s Office of Resilience
National Recreation and Parks Association
Park Pride
Pisces Foundation
PNC Bank
Proctor Creek Stewardship Council
Project Reinvest
Renew Atlanta
SunTrust Foundation
The Coca-Cola Company
The Coca-Cola Foundation
The Home Depot Foundation
The Mary Alice and Bennett Brown Family Foundation
Turner Foundation
US Forest Service
Vasser Woolley Foundation Inc.
West Atlanta Watershed Alliance





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