The Atlanta skyline can be seen over the rim of the old Bellwood Quarry, which is being transformed into a city reservoir. (Photos by Isadora Pennington)

Atlanta media got a tour and update of the former Bellwood Quarry site, which will is being transformed into the city’s new reservoir and a giant 280-acre park connected to the Atlanta BeltLine. 

Located about a mile west of Midtown, the old granite quarry site has been drained of its shimmery blue water as a giant boring machine inches toward the Chattahoochee River, which will eventually fill the reservoir with 2 billion gallons of water.  

The future Westside Reservoir Park will include a 4,000 square foot grand overlook spot with views of the reservoir and paths to the Beltline. From the overlook, visitors will be able to appreciate the full scope of the quarry, the majesty of its rocky walls, and the city skyline looming on the horizon.

“We are very ambitious over here” said Amy Phuong, Commissioner of the Atlanta Parks & Recreation Department, during the Sept. 7 tour.  “As we grow to 1.2 million residents, how do we connect folks to nature?” 

The park, which is set to be developed in phases, has an initial opening date set for 2019. Their final plans will incorporate an upper and lower meadow, and the department plans to use community feedback as they develop the park. For now, issues of transportation, safety, and funds for development are at the forefront of the planners’ minds.

Amy Phuong updates the media on the progress at Westside Reservoir Park.

“We want people to have their own experiences,” said Phuong, noting that engaging with the community is crucial to creating a beneficial park for those who frequent it.

Beyond preparing the area for visitors, the department has also enlisted the help of arborists to establish which trees are native species and which are invasive. Everything – from the layout of the paths to the designs of the gates – will be thoughtfully curated in an attempt to infuse art and nature in practical ways throughout the property.

Isadora Pennington

Isadora Pennington is a freelance writer and photographer based in Atlanta. She is the editor of Sketchbook by Rough Draft, a weekly Arts newsletter.

One reply on “First phase of Westside Reservoir Park to open in 2019”

  1. I have stood in the spot the commissioner of Parks is speaking. It is a wild and majestic feeling. When I ventured
    into the quarry after moving into one of the homes in Howell Station (right across from the Fulton County Animal
    Shelter, there were no barriers. My children and I picked volumes of wild flowers that seem not to bloom any more.
    When my daughter and I tried to go over about a year ago we realized we were being surveilled. No problem, as we
    saw the signs. It was our adventure spot ruined. Let’s hope that the city of Atlanta can preserve just a moment of
    this beauty. When I would go walking there, I felt like I was the only person in the world. It was a unique opportunity
    to escape. A park should always be an escape.

    Alice Pickett

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