English Avenue has a new greenspace named Mattie Freeland Park, named in honor of the beloved community matriarch who passed away in 2008.
It was Freeland’s dream to turn what had been an empty lot filled with abandoned vehicles into a clean, safe, beautiful space in which the community could gather, grow food, and play.
Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens, City Councilmember Byron Amos, the Department of Parks and Recreation, Park Pride, The Conservation Fund, and the Friends of Mattie Freeland Park held a ribbon cutting in celebration on Oct. 27.
“Imagine looking out of your window at a vacant lot and seeing the beauty that it could become; that is what Ms. Mattie Freeland did,” Dickens said during the ribbon cutting. “Parks make our neighborhoods more livable. Here we are today, 15 years after her passing celebrating Mattie Freeland’s dream to see something beautiful created in her neighborhood. Something that the entire community can benefit from. This is definitely one of those times that I say that Atlanta is a group project.”
Mattie Freeland Park was a group project. Since 2009, Park Pride, The Conservation Fund, the City of Atlanta Department of Parks and Recreation, and a multitude of other partners and funders have worked together with English Avenue and Vine City neighbors to transform neglected spaces into public parks. Other projects include the Kathryn Johnston Memorial Park (2019), the Lindsay Street Park (2015) and the Vine City Park expansion (2015).
“This is a community space,” stated Dr. Mironda Williams, granddaughter of Mattie Freeland, speaking at the ribbon cutting. “Envisioned by community, championed by community, and then built by the community. This is a safe space that speaks of generational blessings.”
Mattie Freeland Park includes a new playground, a grilling area that includes a pavilion and picnic tables, and a rain garden.