Atlanta’s largest park is finally coming together. How it looks right now
Westside Park’s expanded first phase to open soon, around vast Bellwood Quarry water reserve
Talk to people who’ve seen it, and they’ll tell you Atlanta’s Westside Park isn’t just a city amenity on an unprecedented scale—it’s a regional attraction in the making.
For now, those lucky few have been city leaders, parks and trails officials, and construction-industry folks. (Our requests for a tour have been ignored.) But that’s expected to change, at long last, in a matter of months.
Some 15 years in the making, what’s now officially called “Westside Park”—they’ve dropped the reference to Bellwood Quarry in the name—could open as soon as late spring, but more likely early summer, according to Atlanta Parks and Recreation officials. (Spring ends this year on June 20.)
Plans have changed, however, since the park’s ballyhooed groundbreaking in lush forests west of Midtown in 2018. The COVID-19 pandemic threw a wrench in the projected opening of phase one last year. Initially, that section was expected to cost $26 million, funded mostly through T-SPLOST ($15 million) with the rest covered by parks and rec and watershed departments, plus development impact fees.
An expanded phase one—part 1A and 1B, as one construction company puts it—will see $44 million worth of work completed when the gates open this year.
Expect huge sculptures, a playground and large open fields, plus two and ½ miles of ADA-accessible bike and walking trails linking to the marquee attraction: the “grand overlook” on the high cliffs of the former quarry, now a crucial water reservoir with panoramic views. Eventually, this initial phase is slated to expand across 280 acres, dwarfing Piedmont Park by nearly 100 acres as the largest park in Atlanta. Connections to the BeltLine and nearby Proctor Creek Greenway are in the works.
Have a look at where the project stands, following recent drone tours, in the gallery above, or below:
By JOSH GREEN
MARCH 04, 2021, 2:35PM