Based in Atlanta, Park Pride is “a nonprofit organization dedicated to involving the community in enhancing the quality of life through protection and improvement of parks and green space.” This is the press release for their first Parks Leadership Conference, a statewide event addressing the urgent needs of Georgia’s parks.

Atlanta – Park Pride, Atlanta’s foremost grassroots, non-profit advocate for public parklands hosted its First Annual Parks Leadership Conference on April 11th at the Piedmont Park Conservancy.

The initiative is a response to the urgent threat to parks and green space in Atlanta and throughout Georgia. Organized specifically for park professionals, civic leaders and “people passionate about parks”, the conference provides a forum for practical methods of preserving and improving parks, including:

  • Forming public/private partnerships
  • Creative Fundraising
  • Best Practices in Georgia Parks
  • Arguments that Win: Showing the Importance of Green Space
  • Advocating for Conservation Funding

“Protecting green space in rapidly developing cities is a challenge that is getting more difficult as more land is developed. The price of land is rising, the land available is shrinking and the number of people using the parks are increasing”, states Sam Collier, Park Pride’s PARC 9-1-1 Coordinator.

An added feature of the conference is the diversity of speakers from across the country and throughout Georgia, including Charles Jordan – nationally regarded Director of Parks for Portland, Oregon – and Jim Bowen, vice President of the River City Company that helped to clean up and revitalize downtown Chattanooga’s riverfront. Experts from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources such as Harvey Young, former Lieutenant Governor Pierre Howard, and other Atlanta parks professionals participated.

Atlanta lags behind other American cities in every measure of park acreage, and the parks we do have are unsafe and poorly maintained. The Park Pride conference addresses the complex issues impacting both urban and rural parks from a wide variety of perspectives.

The lack of adequate parkland is a far-reaching problem with long-term consequences in terms of increased air pollution, water quality problems and decreased natural habitat for wildlife. Most glaring is the impact on quality of life as evidenced by the lack of park space available to keep pace with Georgia’s rapid growth and urbanization. Where there are people and children, we need parks.

“Parks knit the community together. It’s where we play, meet neighbors, and hold community gatherings. Having green places where we have permission to enjoy is vital to our well-being and spirit”, says Jimmy Powell, President of Park Pride.

Park Pride’s First Annual Parks Leadership Conference is presented in cooperation with a coalition of parks advocates and professionals. Sponsors include: Georgia Power Company, Georgia-Pacific Corporation, Georgia Forestry Commission, and the Piedmont Park Conservancy. For more information on Park Pride’s First Annual Parks Leadership Conference: Go to www.parkpride.org, or call Park Pride at (404) 817-6761.