Gip Johnston, executive director of Chastain Park Conservancy, said he is excited to be able to “solidify” the conservancy’s mission statement “by making the park more safe and secure for patrons.”
“The technology on cameras changes almost monthly,” he said. “We’ve been trying to get the right technology. We want them wireless. … So the technology and working parts [have] taken a long time.”
Johnston said the cameras are high-resolution and will record 24-7, and will be monitored by officers at the Atlanta Police Department’s Zone 2 substation in Buckhead.
Johnston said the cameras are being placed in the “high-visibility areas” of the park, including one at the corner of Wieuca and Powers Ferry roads near the tennis center, one “going up Park Drive overlooking the playground,” and another going at the new Hilltop Field.
Although the park had three cameras installed about 10 years ago, Johnston said they were basically never used and needed replacements.
“Funding wasn’t there to maintain them but I have wanted to get them back on,” Johnston said. “Anytime there’s an incident or break-in, people always say, ‘Hey, can we look at your cameras?’”
The overall cost of the cameras is just less than $50,000, which came from a city of Atlanta trust fund for the park set up to “give the neighborhood around Chastain some relief for traffic and noise that goes on during concerts,” Johnston said. “A portion of ticket sales and revenue from parking goes back into that fund for park improvements.”
Twenty years ago, before the conservancy was formed, there was not a “secure feel,” Johnston said.
Additionally, the conservancy received a $75,000 grant from the Resurgens Foundation, which has a mission to build specialty-design playgrounds for all abilities around the Atlanta area, according to Rosa McHugh, the conservancy’s director of development.
“They selected us for their signature project, which they have each year, and we are honored,” she said.
The conservancy is using the existing playground site and transforming it into a “natural playground,” which will fit in with the “contour and topography of the land,” Johnston said. “Think tree houses, slides going down the hill, treetop zip lining. It will be kind of whimsical. … It’s really going to be something creative.”
McHugh said the playground will accommodate people of all ages.
The grant will be a starting point for the conservancy to raise funds for the new playground, which will cost a little more than $1 million and is set to open next summer.