HUB404 – The Park over GA 400 – Comes Out of Hibernation
This is a Saporta Report Thought Leadership piece by Jim Durrett, Buckhead CID Executive Director and President of the Buckhead Coalition
In the midst of the attention to issues of public safety, homelessness, and potential zoning changes to address housing needs, I have begun to receive calls and emails about a different subject. “Whatever happened with that park project on top of GA 400 in Buckhead?”
Great question. Short answer: The HUB404 vision is real, as is the progress.
If you don’t know what I mean, let me set the context. Five years ago, the Buckhead Community Improvement District acted on the realization that one of the most significant, thriving urban centers in metropolitan Atlanta did not have a significant gathering place. In this day and time, outdoor space where people can come together in community really matters. We decided to discover what we could and should do about it.
The process of discovery led to the conclusion to pursue a multi-functional outdoor space on top of GA 400 and MARTA’s Buckhead Station between Peachtree and Lenox Roads. The space would contain parkland, plazas, gardens, and paths that would create connections in every sense of that word.
The path to realizing that vision was through partnership between the public and private sectors. The Buckhead CID would lead the public sector effort and a nonprofit entity would be stood up to lead the private sector effort. The HUB404 Conservancy was established as that new nonprofit, and the CID and HUB404 Conservancy began to plan on taking the next steps of engineering and final design.
In late 2019 and early 2020 plans were underway to introduce the opportunity to the community and begin in earnest to attract philanthropic support. Many commercial office building owners in the general area of the HUB404 location made a commitment to help fund the work of the HUB404 Conservancy and advance the project. Funds were also being raised and committed to do the engineering in 2020.
And then, COVID. Full stop. The HUB404 Conservancy board (of which I am a member) made the decision to hit the pause button, conserve our funding, and go into hibernation. From the middle of March 2020 until now we have been in that cave, but we have not been slumbering.
Since we hit that pause button, our pursuit of 501(c)(3) charitable organization status was approved by the IRS. We grew the board. More building owners became financial supporters of the effort. And we have decided that now is the right time to emerge and pursue our vision with zeal.
The pandemic, stark divisions in our society, and the need for resilience in the face of the effects of climate change have emphasized the need for places where people come together, for the shade of trees, for better management of stormwater, and for enhancing opportunities to get around without getting in our cars.
Our goal for 2021 is to secure the funding to begin engineering and final design, to further strengthen the board of the HUB404 Conservancy, and to create an unstoppable momentum of support for this truly transformative opportunity. To learn more about the project or to get involved, visit www.HUB404.org.