Residents who live near Atlanta Memorial Park propose the park’s new playground include everything from park benches to roller slides when city officials move the play area to higher ground.

City officials are considering relocating the park’s aging playground to higher ground because it floods and has been inundated with sewage-filled water when the creek through the park overflows. The playground equipment is located within a flood plain that takes in much of the park, city officials said.

Flooding and sewage contamination has been an ongoing problem at Atlanta Memorial Park for decades.
Flooding and sewage contamination has been an ongoing problem at Atlanta Memorial Park for decades.

“It’s still going to get inundated [during severe floods],” said Daniel Calvert, an urban planner with the office of park design. “The hope is it will get inundated less frequently.”

The existing playground equipment is about 10 years old, so parks officials are considering replacing it once the play area is moved, Calvert said. No date has been set for relocating the play area, he said.

On Thursday, May 5, more than two dozen residents dropped by a public meeting at the Bitsy Grant Tennis Center, which is located in another portion of the Buckhead ark, to offer ideas on what the new play area should include. Residents wrote their suggestions on brightly colored notes and stuck to display boards featuring playground designs.

Suggestions included “a giant molecule” climbing web like the one at Morgan Falls Overlook Park in Sandy Springs, a basketball feature, “big roller slides” like the ones recently installed at Chastain Park, picnic tables and park benches.

Not everyone at the meeting agreed the playground should quickly be replaced.

“I think that this project needs to wait until the … Peachtree Creek sewage and contamination problem is solved,” said Gail Driebe, who lives near the park. “The current playground needs to be moved. This is not an appropriate place for a playground because it gets flooded with contaminated water. … Within two miles, there are many big playgrounds that are safe and clean.”

But other residents cheered the proposal. “We’re excited,” said David Quillian, who said his three children regularly use the playground, which he called “a benefit to the neighborhood.”

“The families with children are overwhelmingly in support what’s being proposed here,” Quillian  said.

Resident John Adams, who brought along his 6 ½-year-old daughter, Aly, thought the proposal to replace and relocate the play structures made sense. “We’ve got to get rid of the playground anyway, so we might as well replace it with one in a better location,” Adams said.

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.

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