The Candler Park Conservancy is an all-volunteer, community-run nonprofit dedicated to the improvement of the largest city park in the DeKalb County portion of Atlanta. Our vision is for Candler Park to become known as "Atlanta's natural place to play" and that the park "will inspire, captivate and connect people to one another and their environment."
We're now engaged in implementing that vision in the form a dozen or so major projects that have broad consensus among nearby residents and other stakeholders. At the same time, we're spearheading short-term projects that involve community members in park improvements.
We work in partnership with the City of Atlanta — which owns and manages the park — and with the broader community to guide the park’s growth and improve its offerings. In all our efforts, we're guided by three principles that are consistent with the values of our neighbors and stakeholders:
- Open, democratic decision-making
- Enhancement of the park’s wildlife, natural areas and environmental sustainability
- Access to the park for a variety of activities to be enjoyed by Atlantans in all their diversity
Candler Park traces its rich and sometimes tragic history back to the 1880s. Thanks to the work of the Early Edgewood-Candler Park BiRacial History Project, we know that the land on which much of the southern part of Candler Park now sits was occupied by African-Americans from the late 1800s until the 1940s; black homeowners lost their homes under the guise of a City of Atlanta "slum clearance" ordinance, and the topography of the "Rose Hill" neighborhood was altered to make room for a playing field and a swimming pool. Two decades earlier, the northern portion of the park had been donated to the city by Coca-Cola magnate Asa Griggs Candler in order to develop a nine-hole golf course.
The 55-acre park now has a highly concentrated number of amenities. Among them: a basketball court, tennis courts, a pool house and swimming pool, a playground, two picnic pavilions, a multipurpose field, the golf course and an historic golf clubhouse.
The park underwent a significant landscape change in 2004, with the help of an EPA grant, when community volunteers with the Peavine Creek Watershed Alliance replaced an open culvert and restored the Candler Park branch of the creek. As a result, a new wetlands habitat has flourished in the midst of the golf course.
The Conservancy was formed in 2015, after a master plan for the neighborhood of Candler Park recommended that an independent Conservancy be formed to advance the community's lengthening wish list for park improvements. Part of the reasoning was the the Conservancy would be able to involve a broader constituency than a neighborhood organization because residents of the entire city enjoy the park and rely on it for their recreation.
The Conservancy is a pending 501c3 nonprofit, meaning that membership dues and donations are fully tax deductible. As a membership-based, all-volunteer organization, the Conservancy depends on the financial support and volunteer work of businesses and neighbors like you. Won't you join today?
The mission of the Candler Park Conservancy is to serve as an accountable organization responsible for engaging stakeholders and for formulating, prioritizing, and implementing a collective vision for Candler Park park-space in partnership with the City of Atlanta.
The conservancy board and officers for 2017-18 term are as follows:
Stacy Funderburke (chair)
Dan Hanlon (vice-chair)
Ben Klehr (treasurer)
Amy Stout (secretary)
Jack White (projects co-chair)
John Skach (projects co-chair)
Doug Wetzel (communications/membership chair)
- Omar Zaki
- Stephen Aultman