Parks with Purpose logo4The 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.

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

Triple Bottom Line Benefits

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

Why This Project Matters

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. 

bird's-eye view of the park 

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 

Learn More

Browse through our parks with purpose Projects:

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