The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation (AMBFF), City of Atlanta, and the Trust for Public Land (TPL) will develop Mims Park in the historic Vine City neighborhood in Atlantas Westside. Building Mims Park will meet a critical community need by creating a unique park that manages stormwater, improves water quality in the Proctor Creek watershed, provides an intergenerational and safe recreation space, and honors the civil rights leaders who used to call Vine City home. This development will result in a newly envisioned greenspace and be a catalyst for community redevelopment at the headwaters of Proctor Creek, one of the most degraded urban streams in Georgia. Park development will include the hiring of a park design consultant team, extensive community outreach, acquisition of several adjacent land parcels to create a contiguous park site, and planning and design processes focused on an innovative green infrastructure system. The realization of Mims Park will provide a vibrant community asset that fosters a positive change in health, education, employment, and environmental conditions in the Westside community.
In January 2016, AMBFF awarded the TPL a challenge grant to develop Mims Park. Once TPL raises $400,000 and completes critical design elements, AMBFF will provide TPL an additional $1.8 million for the construction of community-designed amenities in the park. TPL has hired a resident to assist with community engagement, and will engage resident input on the design of the park, a stormwater management facility, public art honoring the civil rights era, a market plaza, and urban gardens. TPL will furthermore help provide environmental stewardship and educational opportunities in the park to Westside residents. Finally, TPL will partner with Westside Works, AMBFFs Westside training and employment center, to identify construction and landscaping job opportunities for residents. The City will remediate contaminated sites on the property and construct the green infrastructure system.
June 2016: Park design consultant team begins design collaboration with City departments. Community engagement and design documentation strategy developed with stakeholders
June-August 2016: Community outreach begins and informs the design consultant team of the needs and desires of community. Park program elements and amenities are identified with schematic design concepts developed during design charrette
July 2016: Fundraising feasibility consultant to determine funding opportunities.
June-August 2016: Design alternatives presented to community to gather feedback. Schematic design finalized and vision set for development of the park
August-September 2016: Project design and construction documentation begins and is refined through review, comment and agreement among COA stakeholders and community leaders. Overall project site plan finalized and proposed park amenities are designed and documented.
August-September 2016: Implement capital campaign with design.
November 2016: Complete construction documents complete and bid for construction contractors.
January 2017: Construction contractor selected.
October 2017: Construction of Mims Park (expected completion December 2017).
The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation (AMBFF), through the Westside Neighborhood Prosperity Fund, has committed to invest $15 million dollars in Atlantas historic Westside communities of Vine City, English Avenue and Castleberry Hill. In these Westside communities, which historically housed Americas civil rights legends, live approximately 22,000 residents, over 80% of whom are African-American and approximately 40% of whom live below the poverty line. AMBFF is working with partners to positively transform the people and places of the Westside.
The Westside neighborhoods sit in the headwaters of the Proctor Creek watershed, which is highly degraded. Mims Park, which lies in Vine City neighborhood on the Westside, formerly existed as a bowl shaped tract of land, which in 2002 flooded due to heavy rains and a faulty sewage conveyance system. Four feet of sewage flooded the park, leaving many residents on the streets. Most of the affected houses were eventually demolished and their occupants provided with alternative housing in other parts of the neighborhood. Thirteen years after the flood, the undeveloped land is devoid of any other activities due to site contamination. As a result, many residents and businesses have experienced repeated flooding, and a constant stumbling block to park development has been the need for extensive environmental remediation and stormwater management.
In July 2012, Atlantas City Council and partners developed a plan for the development of Mims Park, which would provide needed recreational space and activities for the Westside community while honoring the Civil Rights Movement legacy of the Westside Vine City neighborhood. The City of Atlanta now has permission and funding to remediate the sites contaminated soils and prepare the park for development.