New green space, park renovations coming to Stone Mountain

A new green space in DeKalb County is in the works and a park in the city of Stone Mountain will receive enhancements. The projects will be funded from money appropriated from the District 7 reserve, which includes parts of Clarkston, Doraville, Lithonia, Stone Mountain and Tucker.

Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson announced that $55,500 would go toward conceptualized site layouts for a 10-acre Memorial Drive location expansion of the Ethiopian Community Association, as well as the enhancement of Hairston Park in Stone Mountain.

Approximately $35,000 will be used to create a master site plan for the Ethiopian Community Association to include the creation of green space that will be used to support the organization, the city of Stone Mountain and DeKalb County. The proposal will also include a space to accommodate community events, outdoor gatherings, a soccer field, amphitheater, and a community garden featuring indigenous herbs and plants from Ethiopia, stated a press release.

On the Ethiopian Community Association in Atlanta’s Facebook page, officials shared photos of Cochran-Johnson visiting the group’s community center, located in Stone Mountain, to “discuss what [they] would do in the future together.”

Earlier this year the organization purchased the property, which consists of a large conference hall and 15 rooms and offices. It also features 6.9 acres with wooden pavilions, a water fountain and a large space that officials said the organization hopes to enhance for public use.

The Ethiopian Community Association of Atlanta is a nonprofit social, cultural, and philanthropic organization with the goal to promote understanding and harmony among Ethiopians and members of the wider Georgia community by facilitating communication regarding the histories, backgrounds, languages, and cultures of the respective communities, according to the organization’s website.

The remainder of the $20,500 will be allocated to the DeKalb County Recreation, Parks and Cultural Affairs Department to create a master site plan for Hairston Park’s 46 acres. The proposal will include two initial concepts that will be presented to stakeholders and the public for comments, as well as a recommendation of cost based on the selected concept. In addition, the master site plan will align with the department’s goals, as well as community input, existing assets, and the topography of the property, stated a press release.

“It is beneficial for government agencies to support the creation and evolution of green spaces where a community’s character is preserved, protected and projected for growth,” said Cochran-Johnson. “I believe the organizations that are receiving District 7 funds will put them to great use and it is my hope that they will not only boost community engagement but will assist in the beautification and attractiveness of DeKalb County. I am happy to lend financial support to these much-needed park revitalizations that will benefit the citizens of Stone Mountain and I look forward to witnessing the materialization of both plans once implemented.”

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