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The History

Two development projects will together remove ALMOST 400 TREES from within Grant Park.  The projects are planned to run almost concurrently:

  1. Construction of a 1060-space parking deck (for the Zoo), called Grant Park Gateway, which will destroy approximately 200 trees in Grant Park (at least 131 of which are considered healthy – potentially more, pending our arborist’s review)

  2. Expansion of Zoo Atlanta's elephant barn and African savannah is in the process of destroying approximately 187 trees in Grant Park (approximately 125 of which were considered healthy)  

We will lose these trees in the park between Boulevard and Cherokee Ave, resulting in a radical reduction of the tree canopy in the area. Considering the scope, these plans essentially mean a clearcutting of 15 acres in our public park, which is neither responsible nor thoughtful development.    


MYTH: Save The Trees, Inc. is anti-deck.  


FACTS: Collectively, we are not anti-deck, we are pro-tree!  As individuals we have a variety of opinions both for and against the planned parking deck. Some feel a deck is needed but would like to see the design tweaked to preserve trees.  Others prefer the deck be relocated off park property. Many have expressed maximizing sustainable transportation options in the area before building a parking deck. 


Regardless of where we stand on the deck, one common goal unites us --- save as many trees as possible.  By working together, we can improve on the existing Grant Park Gateway plans and spare healthy trees from removal in Atlanta’s oldest city park.

MYTH: Grant Park will gain 7 acres of usable green space by replacing the Boulevard parking lot with a green roof deck.


FACTS:  The existing Boulevard parking lot is about 7 acres. The current plans do not add 7 acres of green space or provide a greener park view for some Boulevard residents.  


The new parking deck will supplant only a portion of the parking lot.  The useable green space on the roof of the deck will actually only comprise 2.5 acres.  The rest of the roof will be occupied by a restaurant facility and a bandstand, which is about 100 feet from Boulevard and pointed toward homes on Boulevard.


The remaining acreage of the existing Boulevard surface lot will be converted to a stand-alone asphalt lot.  At Ormewood Avenue, a ramp is being added for vehicular access to the top of the deck.  

MYTH: The new parking deck will remain in the footprint of the Boulevard parking lot and only the area in the parking lot will be affected.


FACTS: Areas of Grant Park well beyond the footprint of the existing Boulevard parking lot are affected by the deck plans, including the areas surrounding the pond as well as the Summer Shade Bowl.


When we lose so many mature trees, we also lose their ability to absorb stormwater. As a result, even more trees around the pond will be removed and the pond itself will be enlarged as a stormwater retaining pool.


During construction, two locations will have stockpiled dirt excavated from the Boulevard lot.  One location is in the Summer Shade Bowl. The other is in the southern end of the Boulevard lot just south of Ormewood Avenue.  Both stockpiles destroy existing trees.


The plans call for some of the stockpiled dirt to be used regrade the Summer Shade Bowl, which will kill trees in the area. This regrading will turn the traditional Summer Shade Festival location into flat grassy area with fewer large trees to provide shade, destroying the character of this beloved neighborhood celebration. We will not be able to replace the mature tree canopy in our lifetimes. 

In addition a “flyover” staircase feature will extend from the northern edge of the deck, beyond the borders of the current parking lot, into what was formerly the Bowl.

A black construction fence in front of a Summer Shade Festival sign.


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