By Mikkel Hyldebrandt
Photos and renderings courtesy of City of Atlanta, HGOR, Netflix
The former Bellwood Quarry was made famous as a movie set in ‘Hunger Games’ and TV shows like ‘Walking Dead’ and ‘Stranger Things.’ Now the disused quarry is getting new life as the $300 million Westside Park project is about to take off and create a park space bigger than Piedmont Park – and provide an important water reservoir for the city of Atlanta at the same time.
Just outside the city of Atlanta, a disused quarry is about to be transformed into another attractive amenity to what the city has to offer. And a crucial one at that, because what may look like a multi-million dollar park development plan is actually a critical initiative to improve the city’s water reserve vastly.
Very much in tune with a project like the Beltline, which has transformed Atlanta into one of the greenest cities in the U.S., the Westside Park project originates from original infrastructure that is simply being turned into a useful and vital public facility. In fact, the project aims to transform the quarry into an essential watering hole for the entire city – the ensuing plan to develop the surroundings into a publicly accessible green space is merely the icing on the cake.
As of now, the Chattahoochee provides the water supply to the Atlanta Metropolitan area. As the city continues to grow at a rapid pace, this water supply source is being challenged more and more. The Chattahoochee is one of the smallest river systems in the country to provide water to a major metropolitan area and already struggles to supply sufficient amounts of water during droughts.
That is where the Bellwood Quarry comes because the reservoir will be filled with much-needed water reserves during high flows in a quite impressive conversion between the Chattahoochee and the quarry. The drilling of a five-mile tunnel will connect the water treatment plant and the Chattahoochee River intake with the former quarry to create 2.4 billion gallon reservoir with enough for a 30-day supply of drinking water for the 1.2 million people served by the Atlanta Department of Watershed.
The other important aspect of this massive expansion is the planned Westside Park at Bellwood Quarry, which will be approximately 280 acres of multiple green spaces for recreation like fields, playgrounds, walking trails, and connections to the Beltline’s Westside Trail. Not to mention the quarry lake itself and the elaborate gateway entrance at the intersection of Johnson Road and Grove Park Place.
The park is slated to open in 2019 and will become Atlanta’s most significant outdoor recreational space far superseding Piedmont Park in size and offering some incredible walkways and trails along with incredible views of the quarry turned reservoir and park.
Rendering of the future Westside Park (courtesy of City Atlanta).
Look familiar? Yes, that is Bellwood Quarry posing as Hawkins Quarry in Stranger Things. Photo: Netflix.