Arts and Entertainment

Save Our Own Old Atlanta Prison Farm

By Carlen Hultgren

Save the Old Atlanta Prison Farm (STOAPF) will be holding a benefit to support the ongoing cause of turning this gem of a greenspace into an eco-park. Architectural renderings are needed to help visualize its future as an eco-park, and this benefit will serve to pay for this. The event will be held on October 22 from 9:00pm to 2:00am at Club 529 located at 529 Flat Shoals Avenue in East Atlanta. Come out to support this worthwhile local project.

STOAPF was born from the desire to raise awareness of, and to solve the environmental hazards on, one of the most neglected and abused public properties in Atlanta. The Old Atlanta Prison Farm, also known as the Honor Farm, has a long, fascinating, and often productive history, beginning in 1863 during the Civil War when the Atlanta City Council proposed buying 150 acres of what is now partially the prison property and using it as a cemetery. Although the cemetery was never built, a lot has happened since then. Honor Farm had its most successful years from 1917 through the 1950s, but later saw a decline, resulting in the current condition of disrepair on the property now. For the full history, see the website, www.savetheoldarlantaprosionfarm.org.

As sad as the history and current state of this land may be, there are more than just problems motivating the cause –a true vision for the future.

The Old Atlanta Prison Farm is over 300 acres of land, making it the largest greenspace inside the perimeter, and it is full of enormous potential for our community. In a spirit of hope and opportunity, concerned citizens continue to explore this great potential through a series of visions. All are invited to join in the ongoing discussion of the very real possibilities for the future of this unique, beautiful, and historic place.

With a belief that the multifaceted vision should reflect the needs and desires of the community, input is both welcomed and valued. Please feel free to share your visions for the Old Atlanta Prison Farm. The project is always looking for volunteers to help build trails and lead tours. Visual planners, environmental architects, clerical help, naturalists, and membership administrators are needed.

Some visions already shared and up for discussion include a dog park, a conventional park, a nature preserve, a sports field, an eco-park, an outdoor music venue, community gardens, an arts and cultural event venue, or simply a historical site. Not only are each of these individual visions possible, but the sheer size of the land means that they all are possible. There is plenty of room for everyone’s visions. Enthusiast Scott Petersen conducts tours on a regular basis.

Each item will be discussed in depth. Any ideas added to the list or ways to improve this vision process are welcome. Please make suggestions on the Facebook page or the website. The organizers are grateful for all your support and interest in saving the Old Atlanta Prison Farm.

Come meet others interested in the Old Atlanta Prison Farm, Saturday, October 22, from 9:00pm to 2:00am at Club 529. There will both music and comedy, and the $10 donation will further the project to repair this jewel in our midst.

Please find more information at the following sites: www.facebook.com/atlantaprisonfarm, and www.savetheoldatlantaprisonfarm.org.

(Contributing to this article Scott Petersen, Jordan Ososki and Joe Peery)