The abandoned apartment complex will be demolished to allow for expansion of Vine City Park. (Photo courtesy of Park Pride)

On Monday, July 29, an abandoned apartment complex will be demolished to make way for an expansion of Vine City Park, just west of Downtown.

The project initially began in 2005 when the Vine City community approached Park Pride to help revitalize the two acre plot of land that was overrun by kudzu and occupied by several abandoned houses. The nonprofit’s “Visioning” team facilitated community meetings and helped design a neighborhood park complete with a children’s playground, seating and grilling areas, lawns and several new trees. Soon thereafter, the first phase of the park was constructed with the help of $1.9 million dollars in funding from the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, Westside TAD funding from Invest Atlanta, and the Department of Watershed Management. In 2008, the park was officially recognized as Vine City Park by The City Parks Department.

For the last 4 years, the Vine City community and its supporters have pushed to acquire the property immediately adjacent to the park, on which now sits an empty apartment building, with the hopes of removing the building and extending the park. At the end of 2012, the property was successfully purchased and Phase II planning of the project officially began which will increase the total size of the park by 25 percent.

“This is a big win for Vine City Park,” says Walt Ray, the Director of Visioning at Park Pride. “This community is excited and ready to take the next steps to really build out the green space that can be used by everyone.” Once the apartment building has been removed, Park Pride will organize a series of community workshops to discuss and plan the park’s future expansion that is projected to be completed by October 2013.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.