LISTEN: Neighborhoods across Atlanta have been awarded $2.5 million in grants to improve community green spaces. GPB’s Amanda Andrews explains.


Across Atlanta and parts of DeKalb County, 25 neighborhoods have been awarded grants to improve their greenspaces.

Atlanta-based nonprofit Park Pride began its grant program in 2004. This year, the group announced the largest batch of awards in the organization’s history: A total of $2.5 million in grants will go towards improvements including new playgrounds, trails, art installations, and accessibility upgrades.

Park Pride Executive Director Michael Halicki said it's focused on equity in development.

“I think parks, when they're not done with the community in mind and are not coming from the community, can actually lead to green gentrification," he said. "That actually forces out the very people that live in a neighborhood.”

Halicki reports that 60% of grants in 2022 went to low-income neighborhoods, and this year it’s up to 67%. The city of Atlanta became a funder for Park Pride starting 2021. City Council designated over 800,000 this cycle for investment in low-income communities.

"As we strive toward increasing equitable access to City of Atlanta parks in the coming months, the tangible impact that this funding will have on underserved communities will be tremendous,” said Justin Cutler, Commissioner of Atlanta’s Department of Parks and Recreation.

Across Brookhaven, Atlanta and Unincorporated DeKalb, there are over 100 Friends of the Park groups which can also apply for funding. Throughout the year, these groups can apply for grants up to $5,000 for smaller projects like park signs and benches.