Freedom Park is one of the largest city parks in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. The park forms a cross shape with the axes crossing at the Carter Center. The park stretches from west-east from Parkway Drive, just west of Boulevard, to Candler Park, and north-south from Ponce de Leon Avenue to the Inman Park/Reynoldstown MARTA station. Freedom Parkway, a four-lane limited-access road, runs through the park west-to-east from the Downtown Connector to the Carter Center, where the main road turns north towards Ponce de Leon Avenue, with a branch continuing east towards Moreland Avenue.
In the 1960s, the Georgia Department of Transportation began acquiring land for two east-side freeways. The north-south route would have cut north from I-20 through Virginia-Highland, creating an interchange at I-85 and continuing north as what is now SR 400. The east-west route (part of which is now Freedom Parkway) would run east from the Downtown Connector (I-75/85) to the Stone Mountain Expressway. A cloverleaf interchange for the two was to be atop the prominent hill where the neighborhood of Copenhill was demolished, and where the Jimmy Carter Library and Museum and Carter Center now stands. The east-west portion from Downtown to Copenhill and the north south portion from Copenhill north to the I-85/SR 400 interchange, was to carry the interstate number I-485.
Through purchases and eminent domain, the GDOT assembled much of the central portion of the project land, and had already demolished 500 homes when local protests and lawsuits, and Governor Jimmy Carter finally stopped the project in the 1970s.
That land sat vacant and overgrowing with kudzu for more than 20 years. Shortly after the 1990 selection of Atlanta for the 1996 Olympic Games, Mayor Maynard Jackson brokered a solution allowing the current parkway to be completed out to Ponce de Leon Avenue to the north and Moreland Avenue to the east. The strip of land further to the east, and land along the new parkway segment, was converted into a linear park with the help of PATH. The 207-acre (84-hectare) Freedom Park was officially dedicated on September 19, 2000 with ribbon cutters Jimmy Carter, then-current Governor Roy Barnes, and Mayor Bill Campbell. Since then it has hosted a number of outdoor sculpture displays and is a popular jogging, bike riding, and dog-walking park.
To visit their website and learn more about the Freedom Park Conservancy, click here.