Rodney Cook Sr. Park in Historic Vine City Opens
Designed to help revitalize an often-neglected neighborhood in Atlanta, Georgia, a new dual-purpose park and watershed management project officially opened on July 7. The $45 million Rodney Cook Sr. Park in historic Vine City replaces empty lots with a vibrant 16-acre community park while seamlessly integrating functional green engineering features: it can alleviate flooding by capturing and storing up to 10 million gallons of stormwater.
In the 1960s, Vine City was a sought-after address for America’s most influential civil rights leaders and families. But its population dwindled and the neighborhood fell into decline. Persistent flooding was exacerbated by an antiquated stormwater system.
Modeled after Atlanta’s Historic Fourth Ward Park, The Trust for Public Land hired HDR to lead the design of Rodney Cook Sr. Park. This pivotal project represents a collaborative design effort between The Trust for Public Land, the City of Atlanta Department of Parks and Recreation, the City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management, and most importantly, the community. DWM led the stormwater pond and connecting infrastructure design with consultant Freese and Nichols.
An Oasis in the Heart of the City
The completed park supports the community with new recreational programs and opportunities for local youth including neighborhood health and fitness programs, a fitness zone, a bouldering (free climbing) area, sport courts, plenty of open green space and a splash pad. Amenities within the park provide ways for the community to gather, connect, and enjoy nature, including a destination playground, an amphitheater stage, market plaza, multi-purpose courts, recirculating fountains, meandering boardwalks, and interpretive overlooks.
The 10-million-gallon pond provides relief to Proctor Creek, eliminates combined sewer overflows for a 100-year storm event, reduces strain on the city’s sewer system, and provides relief to the 150-acre area along Joseph E. Boone Boulevard. As water levels increase, low-lying paths will become submerged, but their widths and multiple exit points allow park visitors to leave the area. The great lawn, designed to hold up to two feet of water, is underlain by engineered soils and perforated pipes that allow the water to drain back to the main pond.
Rodney Cook Sr. Park in Vine City is the largest investment in a public park in Atlanta’s Westside neighborhood in more than 50 years. It’s a grand symbol of the neighborhood’s tremendous legacy. It expands on the foundation the city built with Historic Fourth Ward Park, showcasing the best of urban planning while building a monument to history to be enjoyed by the community.