Atlanta Park Champion: Kit Sutherland

Changing the scenery of Old Fouth Ward
Atlanta Park Champion
Photograph by Jenni Girtman

In 2001 Kit Sutherland and her husband bought a condo on Glen Iris Drive, then a quiet street known for, well, not much. Today it’s at the epicenter of three projects that have permanently changed the entire city: the Atlanta BeltLine, Historic Fourth Ward Park, and Ponce City Market.

From her roof, Sutherland, 55, can see it all, and it’s hard to find a development she hasn’t had a hand in. As a Neighborhood Planning Unit secretary from 2005 to 2010, she was deeply involved with the Old Fourth Ward’s Master Plan and the projects that changed its face—especially Historic Fourth Ward Park, whose conservancy board she joined in 2009. Over three years, Sutherland sat on the park’s design review committee, assisted during the design and planning period, and recruited more board members. In 2011 she helped create the conservancy’s strategic long-term plan, after taking a post as president of the Fourth Ward Alliance Neighborhood Association in 2010.

“[Historic Fourth Ward] Park is an amazing example of municipal money doing what it is supposed to do, which is to improve infrastructure but also serve the community,” she says. “I remember voting for [the splash pad], but it wasn’t until I saw the children playing that I thought, ‘This is how parks are supposed to work.’”

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This article originally appeared in our June 2015 issue.