Increasing Atlanta’s and Decatur’s local parks with the DeKalb County Parks Bond and Greenspace Program

While Atlanta is notoriously short on parks and greenspace, DeKalb County has worked since 2000 to implement big changes and acquire greenspace around the city. In a county that is already at least 80% developed, the importance of preserving greenspace is more significant than ever. As stated on the DeKalb Greenspace Program website,

Mason Mill and Ira B. Melton Parks, near Medlock Park in DeKalb County, make up a 130+ acre park where Burnt Fork Creek and the South Fork of the Peachtree Creek intersect

Mason Mill and Ira B. Melton Parks, near Medlock Park in DeKalb County, make up a 130+ acre park where Burnt Fork Creek and the South Fork of the Peachtree Creek intersect

Greenspace includes parks, nature preserves and recreational centers, all of which attract residents who increase local property values, and businesses that provide jobs. Greenspace also helps the community at large by lowering crime and reducing the cost of public services such as police protection, and sewer and road maintenance. Not only does our air quality benefit, but treating drinking water also becomes easier and more affordable if we allow the waterways and surrounding ecosystems to naturally cleanse themselves. However, the need for recreational opportunities is perhaps most important for the ever more sedentary, auto-dependent Atlanta area population. The trails, bike paths, and pedestrian ways provide citizens with a much-needed athletic outlet, as well as an alternative transportation route to the traffic-ridden, hazardous roads and highways.

As of October 2007 (the most recent statistics posted on their website), DeKalb Parks Bonds and Greenspace Program has purchased 2,708 acres for a total cost of $86.72 million, which is fantastic! But we have a long way to go. So how can we get involved? Click here for volunteer opportunities to help in DeKalb parks to help maintain current parks, adopt a park, and more!

In my neighborhood near Medlock Park, we have over 130 acres of nature preserve and parks between Mason Mill Park, Ira B. Melton Park, and Medlock Park. And then there’s Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve, too – which we all have a great appreciation for! For information on volunteering with the Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve in particular, check out a previous blog post by clicking here and come out and volunteer the first Saturday of each month!

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