Charge: To regularly inspect and comment on Cabbagetown Park, Cabbagetown Neighborhood Garden, and community greenspace; To develop budget recommendations for park maintenance; To develop a calendar of maintenance in coordination with the City of Atlanta district manager of Parks and CI’s contracted maintenance provider; To oversee the administration of the Cabbagetown Neighborhood Garden; To evaluate and comment on possible greenspace acquisition within the neighborhood, and for other purposes.
Membership: There shall be 2 committee Chairpersons, 1 Park Chair and 1 Garden Chair. The committee shall consist of 7 members: 2 Chairs, 3 Board Member, and 2 residents of Cabbagetown. All members shall be appointed by the President of CI.
Advisors: The committee is encouraged to seek the support and guidance of experienced professionals when necessary.
In 1976, the Grant School closed its doors for the last time. The school occupied 3.5 acres in the heart of Cabbagetown. This was last open space available for creating a neighborhood park. The property was in imminent danger of development. In March 1995, the Cabbagetown Neighborhood Improvement Association (CNIA) initiated contact with the Atlanta Public Schools to determine the process of acquiring the land. In Spring 1996, CNIA circulated a survey that indicated creation of a park was a high priority for neighbors. Conversations continued with APS. In August 1998, more than 200 residents signed letters petitioning the School Board to authorize transfer of the land. A formal proposal was sent to the School Board in Spring 1999. Action was delayed for almost two years as the School Board initiated a comprehensive, system-wide assessment of land use. Grant Park Primary School property was classified as surplus property.
CNIA initiated conversations with the Atlanta Department of Planning in 1997. The City Department of Parks issued a letter of support for the project in October 1999. Concerted neighborhood action succeeded in accomplishing a revision of Atlanta¹s Community Development Plan that designated the School property as greenspace. At the same time, CICDC members, acting under the auspices of CNIA in 1998, applied for and received a $100,000 grant from Atlanta¹s Community Development Block Grant funds for development of the property into a park.
Once the scale of the undertaking was understood by the community, members of CNIA came together and formed the CICDC in 1999. The CICDC board membership is entirely made up of neighborhood residents. It is structured to have an accountable relationship with CNIA. CNIA ratifies four of the CICDC board members and CICDC has a representative on the Executive Committee of CNIA.
The Atlanta City Council passed Resolution 00-R-0201 urging the Atlanta Board of Education to convey the property to the city for development as a park.
The consistent and persistent efforts of neighborhood leadership led to the designation of $750,000 of the Atlanta greenspace bond issuance in 2000 for the park project. As a demonstration of the depth of community interest in the project, residents individually made $6,000 in pledges to financially support the maintenance of the park. Again, the CICDC formally petitioned the Board of Education to act on the land transfer.
Given the complex, inter-agency nature of the issues, in January 2002 CICDC convened a summit of all the related parties. In attendance were Cabbagetown¹s School Board member, Cabbagetown¹s City Council representative, and representatives from the Superintendent¹s office, the Department of Planning, the Department of Parks, and the Department of Grants Management. The group developed a plan that identified the obstacles and created strategies for their solution. Careful and exhaustive execution of the plan led to three critical events: Cabbagetown¹s City Council Representative, Natalyn Archibong, arranged for a visit by Mayor Shirley Franklin to the park site. The mayor endorsed the project and communicated her support to the School Board.
Neighbors contacted elected representatives urging them to express support and met with each School Board member to secure a vote.
The Board of Education voted unanimously March 11, 2002, to convey the property to the city for use as a park.
In 2001, a half-acre tract adjacent to the park with a former day care center building came on the market. The CICDC voted to secure that property as well. It would allow all of the land occupied by the old school building to be incorporated into the greenspace. And since the building, suited for use as a community center, occupies less than half of its lot, it would provide additional greenspace for the park. The Department of Parks agreed to hold title to this tract as well, as part of the park development. Under the assertive leadership of Councilperson Archibong, the city council voted to appropriate $281,000 to purchase the old day care center to be used as a community center.
In 2003, fortified by these victories, CI conducted necessary environmental testing and competitively bid out a contract to create the park Master Plan. In July, CI and CNIA organized a neighborhood Design Charette to glean the priority interests of the neighborhood. Over 75 neighbors participated! The school building was demolished and removed in November, 2003. After receiving five Master Plan bids and interviewing four of the contenders, CI selected Ecos Environmental Design, Inc. to create the park Master Plan. Six dialogue sessions were conducted with the designers, CI and CNIA members. On March 3, 2004, Ecos presented a completed draft plan.
On July 9, 2004, CI was awarded The Blank Family Foundation Parks, Green Space Grant of $261,500 to support capital improvements, operating costs, and technical assistance for construction of Cabbagetown Park.
CI would like to thank The Blank Family Foundation for giving Cabbagetown the Green Space Grant of over $260,000 to make this park possible. To learn more about the Blank Foundation, please visit their website at www.blankfoundation.org.