Rodney Cook, Sr. Park could transform a neighborhood

The potential of the BeltLine dream has always been that it could add acres of green space and parks to the City of Atlanta.

Today, the Emerald Necklace has a new gem.

After years of planning, delays, and construction snags, the Rodney Cook, Sr. Park at Historic Vine City has finally opened. 

At a cost of $40 million, the park named for a Buckhead insurance executive who worked with Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders is sure to boost the surrounding neighborhoods.

Long in the making, its purpose is to preserve Vine City’s Mim Park legacy of peace, a 19th-century park originally designed by the Olmsted Brothers. 

According to “Mims Park featured what some believe to be Atlanta’s first integrated playground, bringing together the area’s children, regardless of race, in an attempt to forge bonds for the city’s future. For many decades, Mims Park was a source of community pride and an immensely popular gathering spot for all Atlantans.”

That legacy was the basis for the lead park construction implementation team, the Trust for Public Land.

The Westside Park is bordered by Joseph E. Boone Boulevard, Elm Street, Walnut Street, and Thurmond Street in an area historically prone to severe flooding, crime, and blight.

However, things are looking up thanks to the 16-acre park that surely has one of the world’s most beautiful water retention ponds, engineered to hold up to 10 million gallons of stormwater.

Even before opening in June, the park has helped to increase home values in Vine City after years of flight, neglect, and disinvestment. 

Another plus, it’s near the Southeast end of the newly opened Westside Beltline Connector Trail of the Atlanta Beltline.

In addition to the Trust for Public Land, those who helped make the park’s infrastructure a reality include the city of Atlanta Department of Parks and Recreation, the city of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management, The National Monuments Foundation, and the city of Atlanta Mayor’s Office.

Other attractions planned include Peace Park, a personal tribute based on a promise Rodney Cook, Jr. made to his dad during his father’s last days, as well as urban farming programs, sports, youth activities, and a library honoring CT Vivian and Martin Luther King, Jr. families.

A statue honoring civil rights icon John Lewis was recently unveiled. Statues of multiple leaders are planned to eventually adorn the grounds.

In just a short time the Rodney Cook Park Sr. venue has started to revitalize an Atlanta neighborhood where infra-culture is strong, proud, and poised for change.

View videos of the park @beltlandian on Instagram.

About Burke Sisco

Burke Sisco is a Realtor and Associate Broker of eXp Realty with over 20 years of experience in the Atlanta real estate market. He calls the surging infra-culture around the BeltLine both home and business territory and is the founder and managing editor of He has helped a number of satisfied clients buy and sell property in BeltLandia. Those interested in living the BeltLandia Lifestyle can reach Burke at 404.421.9968 or by email at

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