The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation has awarded a $17.5 million grant to Atlanta BeltLine Partnership to support development of Westside Park.
With the first phase anticipated to open in 2020, Westside Park will eventually become the largest greenspace in the city of Atlanta. Spanning approximately 280 acres when complete, the Park will serve as a catalyst for surrounding historic communities and create a destination greenspace for both neighboring residents and the region.
Designed in collaboration with surrounding communities, city leadership, and Atlanta BeltLine, Inc., Westside Park plans call for ADA accessible trails, lighting, signage, educational facilities, special event spaces, and a panorama area overlooking the Atlanta skyline and the city’s largest reservoir, which will eventually hold 2.4 billion gallons of emergency drinking water and serve as a 30-day backup source of drinking water for the city. Future phases of the Atlanta BeltLine will connect to the Park and Proctor Creek Greenway.
Joining the City’s $26.5 million investment in the first phase of Westside Park, the Blank Foundation’s grant will enhance public access, neighborhood connectivity, and long-term sustainability of approximately 50 acres of this 280-acre greenspace. It is also the lead gift in the Partnership’s forthcoming expanded capital campaign, and will build on the $4.1 million raised to date to support the creation of Atlanta BeltLine Interim Trails, including the recently opened 4.5 mile Southside Interim Trail.
The Partnership’s proposed campaign, combined with public and other identified sources of funding, will activate five shovel-ready parks and trails and the continued creation of interim trails to open more of the Atlanta BeltLine as expeditiously as possible. Working with Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. and the City of Atlanta Department of Parks & Recreation, plans include creating greenspace along the Westside Trail at Enota Park, completing trail segments on the Northeast and Southside Trails, and working with the PATH Foundation to link downtown Atlanta to Westside Park — in addition to efforts to activate the first phase of Westside Park.
“The Foundation’s Westside Park grant is the latest in the Blank family’s longstanding commitment to investing in Atlanta’s historic Westside neighborhoods, and in parks and greenspaces across Atlanta,” said Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. “To date, the Blank Foundation has committed more than $18 million to efforts around parks in our city, and nearly $50 million towards positive Westside neighborhood transformation in the areas of crime and safety, economic inclusion, education, health, and housing. We are grateful to the Blank Family Foundation for their remarkable work to support our city and our One Atlanta vision.”
“Everything we do through our family foundation and family of businesses is meant to instill a sense of community, which is why it is important for us to continue to support the efforts of the Atlanta BeltLine as it creates a new space for bringing our community together through Westside Park, ” stated Arthur M. Blank, Chairman of The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. “We want these Westside communities to feel like this is their park where residents, neighbors, and visitors are connecting and gathering because that is when Atlanta is at its very best.”
“It is with deep gratitude and excitement that we celebrate this generous gift from The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation,” said Atlanta BeltLine Partnership Executive Director Rob Brawner. “Building on the support of leaders in our philanthropic community over the past decade, this gift represents the largest single philanthropic gift ever made to the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership. As we embark on the next phase of shovel-ready parks and trails to advance the vision of the BeltLine, the Foundation’s gift will be catalytic to our overall success.”
“This collaboration between the City of Atlanta, the Atlanta Beltline Partnership, Atlanta BeltLine, Inc., Park Pride, and The Blank Foundation is truly phenomenal!” said John Dargle, Jr., Commissioner for the City of Atlanta Parks & Recreation. “Westside Park is a transformational project that will set an exciting new precedent for greenspace development across Atlanta.”
“We’re at a milestone moment in this city, with a world of opportunity at hand,” said Clyde Higgs, President and CEO of Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. “The Atlanta BeltLine project would not be possible without the help and support of our numerous public and private partners. We would like thank the Blank Foundation for their support of the expanded capital campaign, and for helping us move toward our goal of realizing the Atlanta BeltLine vision and our potential to connect Atlantans around the city.”