A park in Atlanta’s Westside will use a $50,000 grant from Park Pride to revamp its children’s soccer field.
Sara J. González Memorial Park, the first park in Georgia to be named after a Latino, plans to use the money to rehabilitate her beloved soccer field, adding AstroTurf for year-round play.
Atlanta-based Integrated Land Design will lead the project.
The money was part of Park Pride’s recent $2.3 million grant round, the largest in its history, which was announced in February.
“My mother would be thrilled with this Park Pride funded development in the park, which will see long-term playability for neighbors, children and families who use the land,” said Isabel González Whitaker, Founder of Sara J. González. Memorial Park. .
Whitaker led the charge to rename the park in 2009 in honor of his late mother, a businesswoman and community leader. It is located at 2411 Coronet Way at the western end of Buckhead.
Sara González had served as director of Hispanic community relations during the 1996 Olympics, according to the park’s website. Later, she became president and CEO of the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, where she grew membership, hired corporate bodies, and raised the profile of Hispanic politicians. Other accomplishments include founding the Hispanic Business and Career Expo, as well as the Hispanic American Center for Economic Development.
“My mother’s values and work were rooted in inclusion, diversity, equity and dignity,” Whitaker said. “This children’s football pitch – which adults can also use as a mini pitch – embodies these values.”
She added that football is a point of contact for Latin American and immigrant communities that “speaks clearly about our heritage, a shared love of sport and recognizes the pan-generational impact of leisure, particularly as a driver of positive health outcomes”.
In an announcement, Park Pride Executive Director Michael Halicki said the organization was proud to help improve the park and “celebrate its role as a beacon of support for Atlanta’s growing Latino population.”
The revitalized soccer field should be ready in the spring.