Quonset hut fire 1 after

The remnants of the Quonset hut that served as the Chastain Park Conservancy’s office on the park’s grounds in Buckhead are shown Jan. 5, the day after a fire destroyed it. The outdoor pavilion to the left of the hut sustained only minimal damage in the fire.

The Chastain Park Conservancy plans to construct its new office in an unused Atlanta Department of Watershed Management building and has started a golf tournament to honor Ray Mock, the man who discovered the Quonset hut that served as its headquarters before a Jan. 4 fire destroyed it.

Rosa McHugh, executive director of the conservancy, a nonprofit that protects and maintains the 268-acre Buckhead park, said the organization plans to repurpose an old watershed management building near its old office location. The structure is a bit larger than the Quonset hut, which had served as the conservancy’s office since its inception in 2003, she said.

“The building will need to be renovated,” McHugh said, adding the conservancy has not yet gotten an estimate on how much the project will cost or how much the city of Atlanta may chip in for it. “The HVAC systems, plumbing, are not working right now. We’re working on creating the as-built (drawings/documentation) to know what the renovation will entail.

“… Until we clear the site and know what we can build and can’t build, we can’t launch a capital campaign.”

When asked why the conservancy decided not to build on the site of the Quonset hut, she said, “It would cost less to renovate. We also want to give some greenspace back (where the hut was located). (Moving the office also) will separate operations from public view.”

McHugh said the Quonset hut fire was an electrical one. An email to the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department seeking confirmation and more info on the fire was not immediately returned.

Since the fire destroyed not only the hut but also tools, equipment and vehicles inside or near it, the conservancy conducted an online fundraising campaign that drew about $20,000. Though that campaign has ended, McHugh said the conservancy is still taking in-kind donations to help replace the utility truck and three utility carts it lost in the fire.

The hut was going to be named after Mock, the conservancy’s director of operations who died in July, but the Atlanta City Council’s vote on a resolution to make that possible was delayed. He discovered it in 2000 while working at Chastain Park for Park Pride and looking for a place to stage the park’s volunteer events. At the time the hut was about 60 years old, had years earlier been abandoned by the city and was overgrown with kudzu.

So the conservancy is honoring Mock with the inaugural Ray Mock Memorial Golf Tournament, set for May 3 at the North Fulton Golf Course on the park’s grounds.

“We’re doing it with the family’s support and his friends’ support,” McHugh said. “A group of his friends he used to play golf with throughout the year is supporting the tournament. It’s a good opportunity for friends of his who were not necessarily living at the park to take part in this. … We’re calling the tournament (tag line) Play the Ray in May.”

For more information on the conservancy or to register to play in the tournament, visit www.chastainparkconservancy.org.

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