News: NFL Foundation, Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation & Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee unveil $2.4 million renovation of the Westside’s John F. Kennedy Park
January 31, 2019
Each year, the NFL seeks to improve the surrounding communities of the Super Bowl host city, through the Super Bowl Legacy Grant Program, by giving an annual $1 million contribution from the NFL Foundation.
This year, a $2.4 million grant – supported by funding from the NFL Foundation, Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee and the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation – went to the renovation of John F. Kennedy Park located in Atlanta’s historic Westside neighborhood. Additional support for the project was provided by Atlanta-based partners – Chick-fil-A Foundation, Park Pride, Primerica and WXIA.
The Capital Improvement Project will now provide students at the nearby Hollis Innovation Academy, as well as the Westside community, with a versatile playing field for athletic competition and the surrounding community a safe space for exercise and outdoor activities.
The expansion of the park also ties into Westside Future Fund’s community health and wellness impact strategy. The impact strategy highlights the connection between a community’s economic health and the health of its residents, which is improved by the presence of quality parks and greenspace.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur M. Blank, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee executives Chairman Dan Corso and COO Brett Daniels, principal of Hollis Innovation Academy Dr. Diamond Ford and Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle and Atlanta native Grady Jarrett were present for the ribbon cutting Thursday at the John F. Kennedy Park.
“The Super Bowl provides us with the opportunity to make an impact in the host communities long after the final play of the game,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “In conjunction with the Super Bowl Host Committee and the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, the Super Bowl Legacy Grant Program enables us to make meaningful improvements in the community that will last for years to come.”
“There’s a lot of legacy moments from every aspect, from every viewpoint from this great community,” said Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur M. Blank (pictured below). “A lasting legacy for the Westside is this great park.”
The Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee formed Legacy 53 – a community engagement initiative aimed at creating a lasting legacy in Atlanta as part of Super Bowl LIII. Legacy 53 is built on five pillars that focus on celebrating and elevating Atlanta communities through a variety of initiatives, which impact both the hearts and minds of Atlanta neighbors and the Atlanta neighborhoods they call home.
The Capital Improvement Project, representing one of those five pillars, includes a full level turf playing surface, community walking path, Fit-Trail exercise system for fitness training, new playground equipment with soft turf underpinning, new hard-court basketball surface, shade picnic pavilion and sidewalk lighting for evening use. The previous playground equipment will be repurposed to upgrade nearby Ashby Circle Park.
Hollis Innovation Academy teacher Nadie O’Connor-Smith was present for the ribbon cutting and noticeably excited about what the park will mean for her students.
“I told my kids, ‘we have some great people in the neighborhood, people who care about you,'” said O’Connor-Smith. “We need this in the community. A lot of kids are always in the house, on their phones. Now they have this. I told them, ‘ let them know this is your community, your park.'”
Hollis’ Dr. Diamond Ford was elated by the new addition to her school’s community as well, commenting, “This is a space, another step, in our journey towards transforming the Westside of Atlanta.”
Check out coverage below from the event!
About The NFL Foundation
The National Football League Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of those touched by the game of football – from players at all levels to communities across the country. The NFL Foundation represents the 32 NFL clubs and supports the health, safety and wellness of athletes, youth football, and the communities that support our game. For more information on The NFL Foundation, visit: www.NFLFoundation.org.
About Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee
The Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee is the liaison between the National Football League, the City of Atlanta and the local community. Formed in 2017 under the Championship Hosting Division of the Atlanta Sports Council, the Host Committee is responsible for helping to plan, organize and support activities and events that will enhance the Super Bowl LIII experience for the city, state and region. For more information, visit: www.ATLSuperBowl53.com.
About Hollis Innovation Academy
Michael R. Hollis Innovation Academy is a PK-8 EL Education Expeditionary STEM School. Hollis opened on August 3, 2016 to students of the Vine City/ English Avenue Community, initially servicing PK-5 students, and will add a grade level each year until the school reaches 8th grade. Hollis is also the pilot school of Westside Future Fund’s cradle-to-career education impact strategy and its partnership with Atlanta Public Schools.