The National Recreation and Park Association has named Atlanta's historic Selena S. Butler Park as the next site for its Parks Build Community revitalization initiative. That initiative was launched in 2009 in an effort to demonstrate and support the integral role America's parks play in revitalizing underserved urban areas.
The first park selected to receive an extensive face-lift was Marvin Gaye Park in Washington, D.C.; the first phase of that rejuvenated park opened in August 2009, and improvements there continue. "Our ongoing updates to Marvin Gaye Park are made possible through our collaboration with various organizations, as well as generous donations from partners and sponsors," says Barbara Tulipane, NRPA's CEO. "We must now apply the experience and lessons we continue to learn from D.C. to achieve our goals and reach our own raised expectations for this project in Atlanta."
Named after a key figure in the fight for racial equality in American education and located near the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, Butler Park (pictured, above and below) has been in dire need of revitalization since suffering severe damage during a 2008 tornado. Work is scheduled to begin next month, with a dedication ceremony expected in early November. NRPA is working with sponsor organizations PlayCore and Superior International Industries, plus local partners such as the City of Atlanta Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affair and various neighborhood groups.
NRPA officials say they hope Parks Build Community serves as a template for revitalizing underserved parks and public recreation spaces around the country.