Reimagining Pullman Yard - Daily Agenda - Atlanta Magazine
 
 
 

Reimagining Pullman Yard

The twenty-six acre industrial relic in Kirkwood could become a sports complex

      Despite the pastoral expanse of Piedmont Park and the BeltLine’s burgeoning greenspaces, Atlanta ranks low on parks per capita, coming in at thirty-one on the Trust for Public Land’s 2013 assessment of parks in the country’s fifty largest cities. Conversely, Georgia’s at the top of the ranks for childhood obesity.

      To help reverse those stats, a group called Atlanta ContactPoint has outlined lofty goals: boost intown park space, confront the flab problem, and nurture transitional communities by transforming old industrial sites into sports complexes. David Epstein, a Wall Street trader turned teacher and coach, founded ACP two years ago and has enlisted more than 100 disparate organizations—soccer clubs, developers, and law firms among them—as collaborators.

      ACP has an inaugural project in mind: turning the state-owned Pullman Yard, a twenty-six-acre former rail facility in Kirkwood, into a compound with indoor courts and outdoor fields of durable turf that can withstand year-round use. Pullman Yard was slated for auction in May, but the Georgia Building Authority, which controls the site, postponed the sale at the last minute. The property, which last housed the New Georgia Railroad, has been vacant for six years. It was assessed at $16 million back in 2007 and valued at a postrecession $4 million this year. Epstein is confident ACP will eventually purchase the site. ACP has met with the building authority and the governor’s office. “People have asked, ‘Shouldn’t you keep this close to your chest so developers don’t hear about it?’ And we say, ‘This is perfect for our proposed use.’ We really want this place,” says Epstein.

      In the meantime, ACP hosts “Play Day” events to promote youth fitness and raise awareness for its longer-term goals. The next will be October 19 at Piedmont Park.

      This article originally appeared in our October 2013 issue.

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      1. nrosbottom posted on 10/17/2013 12:04 PM
        Yes! Our fellow "intowners" have been envious of OTP (outside the perimeter) sports fields/non-professional sports venues for years. The communities in town could utilize this central spot: hardcourt bike polo (currently our local team shares basketball courts), kickball, softball, street hockey, you name it...
      2. skilakeclaire posted on 10/18/2013 09:13 AM
        I can't imagine a more beneficial program and venue for this area to build and sustain a healthy, active and engaged community. Central location for families and young professionals in town, close to the Beltline, marta, bike trails...great, creative and powerful use of public/private funds. We're pulling for ya ACP!
        1. Evan posted on 10/18/2013 01:52 PM
          @skilakeclaire I don't see anything wrong with this project, but I disagree that it is close to the beltline. It is >2 miles away from the Eastside trail which is only 2.3 miles long at this point in time. However, it's less than a mile from Candler Park MARTA station, close to the Trolley Line Trail, and in a community that could use it.
      3. Kirkwoodian posted on 10/18/2013 09:12 PM
        I am glad ACP asked the neighborhood if they wanted another traffic nightmare. Ask the people on Arizona how they like the AYSA traffic when the soccer parents block all our driveways during the afternoons and weekends. It might be a good idea but it is the wrong location. There are a lot better locations for this.
        1. Glen posted on 10/19/2013 10:41 AM
          @Kirkwoodian Really? The reason az is so crowded is because there are no alternatives. Would you rather a developer put up a 200 apt complex? You are short sighted. Move to the suburbs
        2. Former Arizona Ave Resident posted on 11/11/2013 09:53 PM
          @Kirkwoodian You are SO RIGHT. I lived on Arizona Ave for 5 years and this will be a traffic nightmare. I just hope they preserve the historic structures (doubt it) because they are beautiful and historically valuable. Fake grass won't cover or protect kids from the possible chemicals left over from the weapons production during WWII... but then, there is a school right behind this, so what do I know? All I remember is that most residents behind the location won't eat any vegetables from their yards. Yippee, fun. Good luck Pullman Yard! WE LOVE YOU!
      4. Kirkwood Neighbor posted on 10/23/2013 10:21 AM
        ACP's proposal seems to benefit a small number of people tremendously. The surrounding neighborhoods would see little benefit from people driving in to play sports, then driving back home. Kirkwood already has a neighborhood park with two tennis courts, two basketball courts and a softball field. I live across the park and see those facilities used sparingly. I do however see the children's playground used daily, as well as people walking, playing frisbee/what not with their dogs, etc. - i.e. very little organized sports. I suppose ACP would have a bigger draw, but again, the people who would benefit most do not live in surrounding neighborhoods. As a nearby resident I would like to see something that appeals/benefits a larger number of locals.
      5. Earl Williamson, RN posted on 05/12/2014 09:51 PM
        It's significant to note that ACP has proven incapable of obtaining the support of the community it would (negatively) impact, failed to demonstrate adequate funding to implement, and failed to produce an effective plan for preservation of the core six historical structures on site. Indeed the ACP site only speaks of preserving one of those.

        There's not a sport mentioned that does not already have adequate playing space in the 75+ acres of parks in NPU-O, nor is there a demonstrated shortage of playing spaces in the metro Atlanta Area, which begs the question: Why does ACP think it neccessary to create a duplicative recreation facility over the objections of the community it would impact, one incapable of meeting claimed (and undocumented) needs due to poor transportation connections and inadequate parking?
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