The John Howell Park Project
- History of the Park
- John Howell Park is a 3-acre parcel of land located 2.5 miles northeast of the central business district of the City of Atlanta. [See Virginia-Highland map coordinates B2/C-2.]
During the 1970s, the land on which the park is now located was slated for use in the construction of Interstate 485 and the 11 homes originally situated on the land were demolished. The neighborhood vigorously opposed the road development and sued the Georgia Department of Transportation to stop the project. Eventually, the DOT abandoned the project and deeded the property to the City of Atlanta exclusively for use as a public park.
In the early 1980s, the Virginia Highland Civic Fund, Inc. was created to plan and develop the neighborhood's largest public space. The park design emerged from a broadly disseminated neighborhood "Park Needs Study," and in the late 1980s, the Living AIDS Memorial Park Project and Volleyball Atlanta joined in the effort by providing technical and fundraising assistance. Peter Frawley & Associates, a local landscape architectural firm, coordinated all levels of input, and in February, 1993, final plan for the park was approvedby the City of Atlanta. The park landscape design received a building permit for Phase I in August 1994.
- Who was John Howell?
- John Howell was a grassroots civic activist, well-known and well-loved for his extraordinary support of human rights, civil liberties, neighborhood preservation, and the arts. As a resident of the Virginia-Highland community, John was highly instrumental in stopping the construction of Interstate 485 through the neighborhood, thereby preserving one of Atlanta's finest Intown communities. John served as the first president of the Virginia Highland Civic Association. Employed by the Veteran's Administration, John also served as chapter president of the Georgia American Civil Liberties Union, and on the License and Review Board for the City of Atlanta. John Howell died in 1988 from complications of HIV infection. The park was dedicated to his memory in 1989.
- Our Goal
- The goal of the John Howell Park Project is to show the results of our cooperative success to the community -- to focus attention on Virginia-Highland's diversity, and to be the best neighborhood park in the City of Atlanta.