ATLANTA, Ga. - How do you tell the story of Buckhead’s Chastain Memorial Park?
Do you start with the Cadence Bank Amphitheatre, which has hosted some of the biggest stars in music history? Or maybe you start with the NYO ball fields, which welcome young athletes in the shadow of the city skyline.
Or maybe you start with the tennis center. Or the arts center. Or the pool. Or the horse park. Or The Galloway School.
Clearly, there’s a lot going on inside the massive Atlanta city park. And that’s exactly how it was designed 75 years ago.
"The park was actually built during the WPA, the Works Progress Administration, and the intent was to make a recreation destination that would rival any one in the Southeast," says Rosa McHugh, executive director of the Chastain Park Conservancy.
Designed by landscape architect William Monroe and dedicated as Troy Chastain Memorial Park in September of 1946, the 268-acre park became an immediate gathering place for the community. But nobody could have predicted the explosion in visitation that would be caused by a global pandemic.
"Our trashcan pickup went from twice a week to seven days a week," says Conservancy board chair David Miles. "So, that shows you the amount of people that are here."
That means the work of the Chastain Park Conservancy has gone into overdrive. The nonprofit’s mission is to restore, enhance, maintain, and preserve the park.
"We planted 4,500 daffodils last fall. We planted 270 daylilies along the path three weeks ago," says Miles. "During the next few months, we're just focused on beautification."
So, for the Conservancy, the story of Chastain Memorial Park really begins now; not in what the park was 75 years ago, but in what it can be today and for the next 75 years.
"This is a very, very unique and diverse crowd that uses this park. I mean, we get all walks of life. We get walkers and exercisers and musicians and artists and kids and kids and kids," says Miles.
Adds McHugh, "One of our past vice-chairs says this is 'Atlanta's family room.’"
For more information on the Chastain Park Conservancy and a map of the park, click here.
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