SAVE THE TREES OF GRANT PARK
Help save Atlanta’s tree canopy and historic Grant Park!
Orange X's that indicate removal pending are on more than 200 healthy trees in over 10 acres of Atlanta’s Grant Park. Most of these healthy trees are being sacrificed for a 1,000-space, "green" parking deck structure in current plans for the Grant Park Gateway project. Although many of these mature trees could be spared from destruction with adjustments to the development plans, the City of Atlanta is poised to continue with this extensive tree clearing under its current plans. We therefore make an urgent appeal to the City to reformulate its plans for the Grant Park Gateway parking deck to minimize mature tree removal.
Cutting down over 200 healthy trees from Grant Park for a parking deck project is virtually incomprehensible. This extensive tree removal essentially amounts to a massive clear-cutting of mature trees that will dramatically change the park’s landscape. A diverse sample of tree species is marked for removal, including various types of oaks, maples, poplars, tupelos, and dogwoods. Wildlife that resides in these trees will have no place to go. Woodpeckers, owls, hawks, herons, migratory birds, and other birds that make these trees their home will be threatened by the habitat loss. No tree replacement plan will restore within our lifetime the ecosystem lost by removing this many mature trees from such a large area.
Removing so many mature trees from Grant Park for the construction of a parking deck is also at odds with the historic qualities of the area. The Grant Park neighborhood is noted for its mature tree-lined streets, and the park itself is based on a master plan created by the son of one of America’s pioneer landscape architects, Frederick Law Olmsted. Olmsted parks are revered for their undulating, natural landscapes with pastoral and picturesque scenes. The Olmsteds took great care in designing parks offering respite from the stress and artificialness of the city. In fact, when rumors of a parking deck within the park arose in 2007, the Atlanta Preservation Center added Grant Park to its list of “Atlanta’s Most Endangered Historic Places” to draw attention to the risk to this historic site.
We insist the City of Atlanta revisit its current plans for the Grant Park parking deck to minimize the number of mature hardwood trees requiring removal and comply with the Atlanta Tree Conservation Commission’s August 2017 decision. Specifically, at minimum, we urge the City to redesign or relocate the parking deck as necessary to protect the following existing trees located outside of the deck’s proposed footprint:
- Those trees that line Boulevard,
- Those trees in the area where the annual Grant Park Summer Shade Festival is held, and
- Those trees in the southern end of the current terraced parking lot.
We believe the surrounding neighborhood and visitors to historic Grant Park can be better served through accommodation plans which emphasize preservation of the existing mature tree canopy.
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