DC Success of Park Revitalization Initiative Inspires Duplication in Atlanta
ABJ – April 18 – Through its Parks Build Community project, the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) has named Atlanta's historic Selena S. Butler Park as the next site for its proven revitalization initiative.
In order to demonstrate and support the integral role America's parks play in revitalizing underserved urban areas, NRPA's Parks Build Community project was launched in 2009. The first park selected to receive the extensive facelift was Marvin Gaye Park in Washington D.C. In August 2009, the first phase of the rejuvenated park was opened to the public.
"Our ongoing updates to Marvin Gaye Park are made possible through our collaboration with various organizations, as well as generous donations from partners and sponsors," says Barbara Tulipane, CEO of NRPA. "We must now apply the experience and lessons we continue to learn from D.C. to achieve our goals and reach our own raised expectations for this newest project at Selena S. Butler Park in Atlanta.
Named after a key figure in the fight for racial equality in American education and located mere blocks away from the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site, Butler Park has been in dire need of revitalization since suffering severe damage during Atlanta's infamous 2008 tornado.
"Urban parks not only offer a long list of health benefits, but they also provide a safe place for community members to build a stronger identity through social interaction," Tulipane says. "Butler Park epitomizes its namesake's goal of achieving social equality, and we know that by reviving this historic Atlanta landmark we are helping to bring a local community closer together."
NRPA executives hope to convert the success of their Parks Build Community project in D.C. and Atlanta into a template other areas of the U.S. can implement to revitalize underserved parks and public recreation spaces in their own communities.
Construction and installation of Butler Park is scheduled to begin in May 2011, and NRPA plans to host a dedication ceremony in early November. In an effort to duplicate the proven success of collaboration on Butler Park, NRPA is working with sponsor organizations PlayCore and Superior International Industries and local partners - such as the City of Atlanta Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs (DCPRCA); Park Pride; Friends of Butler Park; the Atlanta Neighborhood Planning Unit; and Fourth Ward Neighbors. NRPA will continue seeking additional partnerships throughout the revitalization process.
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