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In 2010 Rodney Mims Cook Sr., the aging patriarch of one of Atlanta’s most prominent families, was in poor health and seemingly fading. Fearing his father didn’t have much time left, Rodney Jr. moved him into his guest house. The elder Cook one day called his son to his side and delivered a final charge: You need to rebuild Mims Park.
Atlanta sometimes is called “the city in the trees,” and certainly as you fly into Hartsfield-Jackson this time of year, a green canopy appears to cover the city. But deplane and explore at ground level and you’ll soon realize things aren’t quite so verdant. For the third year in a row we have earned a low score on a national assessment of city parks. But—in large part due to the Atlanta BeltLine—Atlanta’s gaining green space and serving more residents.