A rendering of the Memorial Drive Greenway.

The completion of a linear park along Memorial Drive from the State Capitol to Oakland Cemetery is taking another step forward with a fundraising effort.

Friends of Memorial Drive Greenway has launched a capital campaign to raise $200,000 in support of the proposed 12-acre linear park. Once completed, the park would link five Atlanta neighborhoods – Downtown, Capitol Gateway, Grant Park, Old Fourth Ward, and Cabbagetown – and cap the I-85/I-75 Downtown Connector.

The capital campaign will pay for near-term improvements on existing park land, programming to activate those spaces, and land acquisition where necessary to build out the park. The kick-off event will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 12 at 7 p.m. at the next installment of the Movies on Memorial outdoor film series (“Black Panther” will be screened), located on the Memorial Drive Greenway at the corner of Memorial Drive and Grant Street.

The Friends of Memorial Drive Greenway is a fiscal partner of Park Pride, the Atlanta-based nonprofit that engages communities to activate the power of parks. The group worked through the Park Visioning Program to create a vision for the park in 2017.

“Our Park Visioning Program utilizes a model for park design that is rooted in the community,” said Andrew White, Director of the Park Visioning Program. “Our measure of success for a great park is whether it becomes well-used and well-loved, and Memorial Drive Greenway certainly has the potential to serve as a town square that connects and strengthens all of these neighborhoods.”

“There are very few places left in the core of the city with so much potential to create a transformational greenspace for future generations,” said District 5 Councilmember Natalyn Mosby Archibong. “We’re working with our partners at the city to execute this vision, but it’s vital to have grassroots supporters putting their time and money behind it through this capital campaign.”

The idea for the park has been floating around for nearly 50 years and acreage for the park has been slowly being acquired since 2006. The City of Atlanta Department of Parks and Recreation currently owns and manages nearly one-third of the land parcels within the proposed Greenway. Funds from the Eastside Tax Allocation District (TAD) are committed to acquire more park land, while the proposed interstate cap would require both state and federal support.

For more information about the Memorial Drive Greenway and to make a donation, visit www.facebook.com/FriendsofMDG.

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.