Downtown Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park is getting a major update that will add more water features, expand its amphitheater and allow visitors to have an “Olympic moment.”
The Georgia World Congress Center Authority, which oversees the park, has released new renderings as work that has been in the planning stages for years gets underway. It’s expected to reinvigorate one of Atlanta’s biggest tourist attractions.
The additions are part of a $25 million update of the 21-acre greenspace — the original site of Atlanta’s 1996 Summer Olympics.
The park is often considered the starting point for Atlanta tourism because of its central location to the Georgia Aquarium, the World of Coca-Cola and CNN Center.
“Millions of visitors to Atlanta begin their journey in Centennial Olympic Park,” said William Pate, president of the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau. “The park has been the catalyst to create a variety of family friendly attractions that all can enjoy.”
So it could expand its greenspace, the GWCCA last year bought the Metro Atlanta Chamber building on Marietta Street. The plan is to demolish the building so the park can be more visible to Marietta Street and the College Football Hall of Fame.
Work to dismantle the chamber is already in progress, with much of the current work focusing on the building’s interior, said Jennifer LeMaster, a spokeswoman for the park. The building should be gone by May.
The update of the park calls for bringing a water feature to the intersection with Baker Street and Centennial Olympic Boulevard, as well as more seating for the Southern Company Amphitheater, which is home to the park’s popular spring jazz series.
To celebrate its Olympic heritage, a new torch sculpture is planned. Also planned are an Olympics sports gallery; a “game court,” where visitors can play large-scale games; and Olympic rings at the entrance to the park off Centennial Olympic Boulevard.
To pay for the renovation, the state-operated GWCCA has raised millions in donations from corporations such as AT&T, Coca-Cola, Bank of America and Cox Enterprises, parent company of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The Woodruff Foundation donated $10 million to the effort in 2015.