Gip Johnston, executive director of Chastain Park Conservancy, said the cameras will solidify the conservancy’s mission by making the park more safe and secure for patrons.
“The technology on cameras changes almost monthly,” he said. “We want them wireless. … The technology and working parts [have] taken a long time.”
Johnston said the high-resolution cameras will record 24 hours a day and will be monitored by officers at the Atlanta Police Department’s Buckhead substation.
The cameras are being placed in high-visibility areas of the park, including the corner of Wieuca and Powers Ferry roads near the tennis center, and the new Hilltop Field. One camera will be positioned “going up Park Drive overlooking the playground,” he said.
Although the park had three cameras installed about 10 years ago, Johnston said they were rarely used and needed replacements.
“Funding wasn’t there to maintain them, but I have wanted to get them back on,” Johnston said. “Anytime there’s an incident or break-in, people always say, ‘Hey, can we look at your cameras?’”
The cost of the new cameras is just less than $50,000, which came from a park trust fund that was set up to pay for projects that “give the neighborhood around Chastain some relief for traffic and noise that goes on during concerts,” Johnston said. “A portion of ticket sales and revenue from parking goes back into that fund for park improvements.”
Twenty years ago, before the conservancy was formed, there was not a “secure feel,” Johnston said.
Additionally, the conservancy received a $75,000 grant from the Resurgens Foundation, whose mission is to build specially-designed playgrounds for all abilities, said Rosa
McHugh, the conservancy’s director of development.
“They selected us for their signature project, which they have each year, and we are honored,” she said.
The conservancy is transforming the existing playground into a “natural playground,” which will fit in with the contour and topography of the land, Johnston said. “Think tree houses, slides going down the hill, treetop zip lining. It will be kind of whimsical. … It’s really going to be something creative.”
McHugh said the playground will accommodate people of all ages.
The grant will be a starting point for the conservancy to raise funds for the new playground, which will cost a little more than $1 million and is set to open next summer.