Program Updates - Proctor Creek
Trash Free Waters Trash Trap Network Project
Trash Free Waters Trash Trap Network Project, (now World Without Waste) Phase one was a presentation to local philanthropic community, corporate partners and other Urban Waters stakeholders to present vision and opportunities. The purpose of the program is based on a simple idea, community workers can help clean up Proctor Creek. That communities in the city core can become leaders in urban sustainability, taking control of their own destinies through intensive environmental education, revitalization, and job creation based on environmentally responsible investment. The Trash Free Waters Initiative will ultimately provide cleaner and improved water quality; a swimmable, fishable creek, litter free neighborhoods and green spaces with employment opportunities and community engagement. In doing so, we protect the health of the citizens, offer a path back into the workforce and increase economic opportunity. The second phase was to task student/faculty team members to provide suggestions for the best location in Proctor Creek to install trash traps. The City of Atlanta provided an engineer to work with the student team and they have finalized and will soon present their findings on trap locations.
Ecosystem Restoration Study
The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), completed their Ecosystem Restoration Study on Proctor Creek in 2017. The City is now working with USACE to finalize a Project Partnership Agreement (PPA) to implement those projects and the Mayor’s office is working to approve the PPA. A second USACE project is getting started, Flood Risk Management Study of Proctor Creek. This project is fully funded by USACE via Legislation for City of Atlanta. USACE will go before City Council late summer.
Several sites rezoned to mixed use with 20% affordable in the projects. While an admirable goal, partners still seek to push for more concessions from the development community around workforce and affordable housing. One project on the near term horizon is Parkside at Quarry Yards with a proposed 177 unit of workforce housing by Preswick and Urban Creek Partners. There is also a significant deal relating to Chattahoochee Brick Company parcels in the Proctor Creek Watershed. The Kovach land swap redevelops a highly industrial area to residential development with some affordable housing.
The Gulch is a massive 40 acre development in the headwaters of the watershed generated a high level of scrutiny and discussion while it awaited approval from the Atlanta City Council. The proposal is a project Invest Atlanta supports and other members of Proctor Creek UW Partnership assited with community engagement. The UW Ambassador and many others from the municipal team offered additional supportive strategies that will hopefully lead to the most equitable delivery of public purpose initiatives.
University of Georgia (UGA)
Faculty, students and community members participated in a tour where UGA students interviewed key members of the Atlanta Watershed Learning Network as a field exercise to support the development of a Watershed Learning Network (WLN) web-based distance learning portal.
Georgia Environmental Conference Engagement
Members of the Proctor Creek UWFP hosted a table at the Georgia Environmental Conference from August 22-25. EPA sponsored an exhibition booth at the event which hosted 700+ people from 245 agencies, localities, businesses, NGO’s, corporations, and educational institutions. Many partners attended presenting on the Restoration Project in Proctor Creek and participating in a panel discussion on tree canopy and health impacts of sound green infrastructure planning.
Transform Westside Summit
Urban Waters coordinators Cynthia Edwards and Constance Alexander attended the Transform Westside Summit on July 21. The Westside Future Fund, sponsor of the event, is a highly valued Urban Waters partner and consists of corporate and philanthropic leaders who are providing the resources for positive change in the Proctor Creek and Atlanta’s Westside communities. At the event, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed to discuss his experience as mayor and his initiatives for Atlanta’s historic Westside.
Radio Series on Proctor Creek
On May 24, WABE local news did a story on Proctor Creek and the projects to improve it. New sewage infrastructure has made Proctor Creek safer for its residents. Billions of dollars’ worth of upgrades went to the city's sewer system and plans for a series of parks to address the long-running issues with the creek including pollution and flooding. Partners, including Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, the Community Improvements Association, and The Conservation Fund, were included in the story which also touted accomplishments like the opening of Rodney Cook Sr. Park.
Rodney Cook Sr. Park
On May 17, 2017, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, City Councilmembers, Atlanta Departments of Parks and Recreation and Watershed Management, two foundations and the Trust for Public Land held a groundbreaking ceremony for the Rodney Cook, Sr. Park in Vine City. This long-awaited high-profile project has been in the works for approximately four years and is a milestone for Proctor Creek partners. All partners provided input on the design of this Park, and the Proctor Creek Ambassador has been part of the planning process with the Proctor Creek Stewardship Council and other community organizations.
Community comments on trail plan
The City of Atlanta and Path Foundation hosted a public forum to present renderings for a linear park/trail for comment and feedback from the community. This is a $3 million first phase of a project funded by TSPLOST (special purpose local option sales tax for transportation) and is a seven-mile trail that will connect the Bankhead Marta Transit Station (where Proctor Creek daylights) to the Chattahoochee River.
Urban Forest Festival
The West Atlanta Watershed Alliance held its 11th Annual Urban Forest Festival on April 1, 2017. Community members joined the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance, USDA Forest Service, National Wildlife Federation, and other partners to learn about Atlanta’s incredible urban forest. The widely popular, family-friendly event also hosted geo-caching, hiking, tours of the Bioponica Sustainable Farming System, hands-on demonstrations, live wildlife, and other food and fun.
City allocates funds for Proctor Creek Greenway
The city of Atlanta is allocating several million dollars in transportation special-purpose local-option sales tax (TSPLOST) revenue to build the first section of the Proctor Creek Greenway. This bicycle and pedestrian trail will cover seven miles and will result in 50 acres of linear park and 400 acres of greenspace on Atlanta’s Westside. City officials state that the master plan for the trail will be completed in April and the first segment of the trail is scheduled for completion in 2018.
Community input on Resources Management Plan
On February 4, 9, 11, 16, and 17th, EPA collaborated with the US Army Corps of Engineers to host community briefings in Proctor Creek on the Integrated Waters Resources Management Plan. Partners assisted residents and business owners with completing data forms and collecting information on community issues. This information will be used to determine what projects the Urban Waters Federal Partnership can design and collaborate on to provide solutions for these priority issues.
Tire Scrap Drive
The Atlanta City Council and Department of Public Works held a tire scrap drive throughout the month of November to cut down on the waste in natural areas and prevent mosquito breeding.
May: Rain Catcher Award
The Environmental Protection Agency recognized the Conservation Fund and Park Pride with the regional 2016 EPA Rain Catcher Award in the Neighborhood/Community Category for the Lindsey Street Park project in Atlanta, Georgia. The Lindsey Street Park project involves the creation of a new greenspace through a community-driven process that focuses on environmental, economic, and social justice outcomes that support a healthier and more vibrant neighborhood. The Urban Waters Proctor Creek Partnership was a major impetus behind this effort, bringing together more than thirty partners, including the Community Improvement Association, West Atlanta Watershed Alliance, and the Proctor Creek Stewardship Council.
The West Atlanta Watershed Alliance (WAWA) and the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper (CRK) held a Proctor Creek Forum to discuss what they have learned from water samples collected through the Neighborhood Water Watch program and the Proctor Creek River Rendezvous in November, 2015. They also discussed improvements made to Proctor Creek.
November: Feasibility Study Agreement
Atlanta May7or Kasim Reed, JoAnn Macrina with the Department of Watershed Management, and C. David Turner with the US Army Corps of Engineers Brigadier General signed a bill to enter into a three-year feasibility study of the Proctor Creek watershed and to share the cost of the study. The City of Atlanta is committing $300,000 this year to begin the study. The Department of Watershed Management and Mayor's Office of Sustainability are working together to identify and evaluate solutions to clean and restore Proctor Creek and will also partner with the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). USACE has significant resources and expertise that can support the City of Atlanta's efforts to improve the environmental health and well-being of the Proctor Creek community.