Marietta wins award for park honoring historically black neighborhood

The National Civic League recently recognized the city of Marietta with its All-America City Hall of Fame Award for its community engagement efforts surrounding the creation of Elizabeth Porter Park.
The National Civic League recently recognized the city of Marietta with its All-America City Hall of Fame Award for its community engagement efforts surrounding the creation of Elizabeth Porter Park.

Credit: City of Marietta

Credit: City of Marietta

A Marietta park that pays tribute to a historically African-American neighborhood and the woman who ran the community’s recreation center has won the city a national honor.

The National Civic League recently recognized the city with its All-America City Hall of Fame Award for community engagement efforts surrounding the creation of Elizabeth Porter Park. The League’s Hall of Fame Award recognizes cities that display “an outstanding civic engagement initiative since winning the All-America City Award.”

Marietta won the All-America City Award in 2006 for creating stronger bonds among residents, businesses, nonprofits and elected officials.

City Manager Bill Bruton, who led Marietta’s efforts to apply for the 2006 award, said the city is honored to receive the Hall of Fame Award.

The National Civic League recently recognized the city of Marietta with its All-America City Hall of Fame Award for its community engagement efforts surrounding the creation of Elizabeth Porter Park.
The National Civic League recently recognized the city of Marietta with its All-America City Hall of Fame Award for its community engagement efforts surrounding the creation of Elizabeth Porter Park.

Credit: City of Marietta

Credit: City of Marietta

“To be able to come back years later and be honored with an award recognizing our community engagement efforts in telling the story of Elizabeth Porter and the African American history of that area means so much to our city,” he said. “Elizabeth Porter Park not only serves as a state of the art (playground) for youth of all ages, but it also serves as a larger than life story book weaving together our local history.”

Marietta leaders, in 2015, launched a process to determine the best way to use the space that housed the former Elizabeth Porter Recreation Center. The city sought input from the surrounding historically black neighborhood, historians, city staff and people who had ties to Elizabeth Porter.

The National Civic League recently recognized the city of Marietta with its All-America City Hall of Fame Award for its community engagement efforts surrounding the creation of Elizabeth Porter Park. A mural at the park tells the history of the site.
The National Civic League recently recognized the city of Marietta with its All-America City Hall of Fame Award for its community engagement efforts surrounding the creation of Elizabeth Porter Park. A mural at the park tells the history of the site.

Credit: City of Marietta

Credit: City of Marietta

Marietta leaders in 2015 launched a process to determine the best way to use the space that housed the former Elizabeth Porter Recreation Center. The city sought input from the surrounding historically black neighborhood, historians, city staff and people who had ties to Elizabeth Porter.

The Friends of Elizabeth Porter Park, an organization chaired by current Councilwoman Michelle Cooper Kelly, was established soon after and began designing public art elements that would tell the story of the site’s history.

Porter managed the city-owned facility — known then as the Montgomery Street Recreation Center — before retiring after 22 years with Marietta in 1974. Soon after her retirement, Marietta City Council voted to rename the facility, which originally served as a hospital for black residents, after Porter.

The 4.76-acre park, which opened near the intersection of North Marietta Parkway and Allgood Road in 2018, was funded with Marietta's 2009 parks bond. It includes a sprayground (a place where children can play in water streaming from structures), playgrounds, a walking path, a fountain, restrooms, landscaping, a 130-foot mural that showcases the history of the area and a bronze statue of Porter.


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