Toward a Complete Park
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The creation of the Westside Park at Bellwood Quarry represents an enormous opportunity for the city of Atlanta. At close to 300 acres, and just over 3 miles from the city center of Five Points, the park’s site is remarkable, and the opportunity to develop such urban land as a new park is an exceptionally rare opportunity, not only in Atlanta, but in any large city over 150 years old. The site’s size and diverse topography, its proximity to the city center, and its other unique attributes, including spectacular vistas, a major creek, long-undisturbed forests, and a historic, 400-foot deep quarry that will serve as a drinking water reservoir, have led to the expectation through all previous planning efforts that the park will be a significant regional attraction, and should be designed to accommodate that role.This paper seeks to achieve three goals: first, to analyze the prior and ongoing plans for the Westside Park and its surrounding area, synthesizing the significant amounts of community engagement, research and planning that have already occurred into a cohesive narrative; second, to provide a nuanced understanding of the local role the park should play, particularly in light of the area’s historical and socio-economic context and ongoing rapid change; and finally, to propose specific design and policy ideas, grounded in the experiences of other parks with similar attributes, that will incorporate and balance the first two objectives.