Tattnall Square Park inducted into the "ivies" of public parks

Amanda Barrentine

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New signage on Adams St. entrance to Tattnall Square Park.

One of the oldest city parks in America, Tattnall Square Park, was named one of the twelve Frontline Parks this summer by the City Parks Alliance.

This title is awarded once every month to a park that exemplifies innovation, urban park excellence and stewardship. The Frontline Park program was created to find and reward such parks that develop creative and innovative ways to meet the unique challenges of building community and keeping the city green and vibrant.

Catherine Nagel, executive director of City Park Alliance, said, “We hope that by shining the spotlight on Tattnall Square, we can raise awareness about the ways investment in our nation’s urban parks pays off.” Past recipients of this award have included Piedmont Park in Atlanta, Discovery Green in Houston, and Patterson Park in Baltimore as well as Prospect Park in Brooklyn and The Highline in New York City.

One group in particular has been immensely involved in the efforts to restore and preserve Tattnall, Friends of Tattnall Square Park. In the last three years alone, they have undergone “the most extensive tree planting in a century,” according to the press release, by planting 215 trees. They are also responsible for new drip irrigation throughout the park, a repainted pavilion, new gating at the Lawton Street entrance and solar powered trash compactors in addition to other projects.

The group is funded in part by the Knight Neighborhood Challenge, a program created to invest in ideas that would restore the College Hill neighborhood. Andrew Silver, professor at Mercer University and chair of the Friends group, said, “We were able to dream big because of the Knight Neighborhood Challenge Fund… With those Neighborhood Challenge grants, we were able to accomplish in two and a half years what most park organizations might accomplish in decades.”

Silver said that, with each grant that the group received, more private investment followed. In total, private, city and state funding has invested $2.4 million into the park and surrounding areas, with the majority of the funding coming from the Georgia Department of Transportation and private investment.

“Before, when Maconites dreamed for the park, and dreamed big, nothing happened with those dreams, or they became pathwork realities– stunted plans half realized,” said Silver. “Now when we dream, we look to the most successful parks in the nation and work with our city officials to make Tattnall a truly great park.”

Out of the twelve recipients of the Frontline Park designation, Tattnall is one of only two recipients to receive this designation in the entire state of Georgia. Future plans for the park by the Friends group include the return of the historic fountain, new sidewalks and temporary public art placed throughout the park.

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