- J. Scott Trubey The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Business and Atlanta civic leaders will gather Friday to launch a new park near Mercedes-Benz Stadium that many hope will be an anchor for redevelopment of westside neighborhoods.
Rodney Cook Sr. Park, a 16-acre green space, will serve a number of key roles — community gathering place, a monument of the state and city’s place in the Civil Rights Movement and a fix to vexing flooding issues that have plagued Vine City for years. The park will also become a part of a network of parks connected to the Atlanta Beltline.
The park is named for Cook, the late former Atlanta alderman and state representative, who was one of the few white elected officials who voted to seat Julian Bond in the chamber in 1966. At the time, Bond was a controversial figure as a civil rights leader and opponent of the Vietnam War. Cook also championed a number of anti-discrimination causes during his time in and out of elected office. He died in 2013.
The $45 million park, funded by the city, businesses and nonprofits, will include 18 monuments to civil rights leaders and peacemakers and the library of civil rights leader C.T. Vivian. It will also be home to a 110-foot peace column.
Partners in the project include the city, the Trust for Public Land, the National Monuments Foundation and Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation.
Mayor Kasim Reed, Ambassador Andrew Young, Falcons owner Arthur Blank and Cook’s son, National Monuments Foundation President Rodney Cook, are among the dignitaries expected to speak, according to a news release.
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