Rodney Cook Sr. Park at Vine City
Award of Merit
CONTRACTOR: Astra Group Inc.
OWNER: City of Atlanta
LEAD DESIGN FIRM: HDR / Freese and Nichols
This project—representing a collaborative effort between The Trust for Public Land, the Atlanta Dept. of Parks and Recreation, the city’s Dept. of Watershed Management and the local community—reinvigorates the once-bustling Vine City neighborhood, which had become one of Atlanta’s most distressed communities and a victim of persistent flooding.
Now this 16-acre, dual-purpose park and watershed management project alleviates flooding by capturing and storing up to 10 million gallons of stormwater, seamlessly integrating functional engineering features within the programmed park and thus creating a community destination. The park features a rock-climbing structure, splashpad, restroom building topped with a skyline overlook, futuristic-looking playgrounds, wide sidewalks to accommodate farmers markets and festivals, multi-use sports courts and a great lawn and a natural amphitheater with city views.
Originally expected to open in spring 2018, the project faced numerous challenges stemming from the site’s prior use.
The homes that once stood at Cook Park were thought to have been built over residues of smelters and other industrial processes, and the soil was found to contain high lead concentrations. After the Dept. of Watershed Management remediated the lead, the team removed or relocated the utilities that once served the housing development and a Georgia Power transmission line that ran through the park.