Archive for February, 2010

People Need Parks. Parks Need People.

Your NPU-T created a committe especially designed to oversee, promote and foster leisure recreation for its residents ( young and old) ; support existing, as well as create new outdoor activity and to enhance and support the abundance and protection of the public space envronment. 

Many of the residents that participate within the NPU-T organization proudly claim ownership of their homes and surroundings. Their desire for a quality of life is most often portrayed through their steady commitment to community engagement.

As I travel through the various neighborhoods bounded by NPU-T, I am resoundly impressed by the sight  of flower and vegetable gardens, parks and play lots, art and activity. This alone serves as evidence that the enjoyment of the outdoors and an appreciation for the richness of the earth manages to stand out as a single common value reflective in this  multi-culturally diverse community.    

No matter where one travels in the city of Atlanta, our interests are all the same. We want to feel safe in our homes, on the street and in the park. We want to breathe clean fresh air; unpolluted by poisons or litter. We want a place to run, walk and play. We want to know that our tax dollars are working to produce equitable results. Why shouldn’t we have access to the same amenities that other neighborhoods have?  But along with those basic necessities, we want and need a sense of community; a feeling of familiarity with one’s neighbor, a place to gather and relax; to experience common courtesy and respect. Parks offer that opportunity.

Each one of the parks in NPU-T have proven that, if given the proper care and maintenance, can stand alone. But parks have so much more potentail than that. Parks have the potential to restore economic development, bring business ( along with jobs) to an area, stimulate jobs, provide healthy play in children, bring families and friends together, stablilize communities and represent a symbol of pride for everyone.   

Park Pride, a non-profit group of professionals and park advocates,  espouse a mission that ‘we’re all connected’ . Since being appointed as chair of the NPU-T PRCA, I have developed a similiar mantra…PARKS ARE THE LANDMARKS THAT CONNECT ONE NEIGHBORHOOD TO ANOTHER. Or maybe you have heard our new mayor recite an old African proverb…You can go fast by yourself, but with others you can go farther.  

As the title of this piece reads: People Need Parks. But parks need people, too! The NPU-T Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs committee is in search of leadership, volunteers and park advocacy. Yes, it’s true, we can claim, and in some cases, even boast about the presence and existence of parks in our neighborhoods. Yet, there is so much more to do and countless avenues to take to get there.     

Please allow me to take this opportunity to encourage you to join the PRCA committee. By participating in this committe you willl receive first hand knowledge about the state of parks in Atlanta, how to take advantage of grant opportunities, particpate in park planning and design, increase your volunteer base and learn how to organize your own Friends of the Park groups. 

I am motivated to write this after a no show of attendees at this month’s PRCA meeting, held at 1:00pm this Saturday at the John Hope Center. On the agenda was 1) information about the March 16 annual Park Pride Parks and Greenspace Conference; a chance to hear from nationally acclaimed authors and experts in the field of parks and network with city leaders. Registration is still $99. thru 2/10. I will be attending. Today’s meeting presented a chance to look over the program schedule and provide me with some ideas and questions that I might present. 2) hands on survey/input to the Park Pride Visoning program for Cleopas R. Johnson Park. This is an 8 month process in which everyone has the opportunity to lend their suggestions for what they would like to see in the park. A public hearing to find out more about the project will be held on Feb. 11, 6pm at 21 Peters St. This is the same thing that was done in the past at Adams Park and Enota Park.3) Friends of Cleopas R. Johnson Park under the leadership of the son of its namesake, Mr. Kenyatta Johnson, is presently engaging members to help rasie funds, recruit new members and create excitement around the park. 4)announcement of  the beginning planning stages for a weeklong West End Festival during the month of May. To consist of  community events, a pet parade and, of course, the magnificent Tour of  Homes. 5) the West End forms sub area 1 of the Beltline. Information sharing on news and progress was part of a lively study group was held  Tuesday at West Hunter Street Baptist Church. There will be another in March. Stay tuned. On another note, Beltline tours are still being offered every Friday and Saturday at 9:30 from the Inman Park Marta station. 6)the much awaited and fun filled Malcolm X Festival returns to the West End Park on May 22nd.7) letters of intent due  on 2/19 to apply for Park Pride 2010 Community Grant Program. 8) Neighborhood Associations should see Nia, at the NPU-T meeting for information on qualifications to apply for tree planting grants for private property. 

This and more is what the PRCA meetings are all about. Please mark your 2010 calendar to join a wonderfully exciting and meaningful excuse to make a difference. Thank you for listening. I hope to see you at the next PRCA meeting, March 6 (Wow that’s interesting. Feb 6 and Mar 6 both fall on the first Sat. of the month.) Come and explore the possibilities. And remember—

“Parks are the landmarks that connect one neighborhood to another.”

Wanda Whiteside,

PRCA committee chair

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Cool news in West End…

A   TV series pilot called “Teen Wolf”  is being shot at a home on Lawton Street!  This home hosted our 2008 Christmas Party.

More details to come…

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