By David Ringstrom
A concrete eyesore on Park Avenue will soon become additional greenspace within Grant Park. Over 10 years ago the City of Atlanta shut down the dive well adjacent to the Grant Park Pool, with no plans to ever reactivate it. Discussions have been afoot for several years to reclaim this area as greenspace, so a few months ago the Grant Park Conservancy set about finding a solution. The Conservancy located a contractor willing to do the project for $42,000—significantly discounted from market prices for such work—so the next hurdle was securing funding. The City of Atlanta’s Parks and Recreation Department offered to cover $20,000 of the project as long as the rest could be raised from the neighborhood. A Grant Park Conservancy donor asked that their prior $8,000 donation to the fountain restoration project be reallocated to the dive well instead. This left $14,000 to be raised, so the plan was that the Grant Park Conservancy, Grant Park Neighborhood Association (GPNA), and Friends of Grant Park Pool (FGPP) would each contribute $3,000, with the final $5,000 being raised from neighborhood donations.
The Friends of Grant Park Pool spearheaded a Ditch the Dive Well campaign that netted $8,500 from 103 individual donations. The campaign was primarily carried out online, via social media on Facebook and Twitter, as well as e-mail newsletters. The overwhelming success of this campaign meant that the Conservancy, GPNA, and FGPP each only needed to contribute $2,000 each, leaving funds available for each organization to fund other projects in the neighborhood. The city later trimmed their contribution to $19,500, but the project remained completely funded thanks to the Ditch the Dive Well campaign.
Assuming speedy approval of the permits by the City, the Grant Park Conservancy hopes to have the dive well area converted to grass prior to the pool opening on May 30, 2011. In this case, all primary stakeholders—residents, neighborhood advocacy groups, and the City of Atlanta—worked together, and their accomplishment improves Grant Park for today, as well as future generations to come.
More Greenspace to Be Added to Grant Park
By David Ringstrom