New Playground Opens at Cleopas R. Johnson Park

April 27, 2011

A new playground has opened at Cleopas R. Johnson Park near downtown Atlanta with the help of a $100,000 grant from MetLife Foundation, Trust for Public Land (TPL) Georgia Director Helen Tapp said today.

The event will be celebrated with a ribbon cutting attended by Atlanta Parks Commissioner George Dusenbury, MetLife Managing Director Garrett Puzzo, and Ms. Tapp, among others.

The project began in 2008, when the Friends of Cleopas R. Johnson Park joined with Park Pride to create a plan intended to breathe new life into the four-acre park, which was inviting, but not heavily used. Neighborhood residents decided the playground equipment, most of which was concrete and looked too industrial, should be replaced with more child-friendly equipment.

Patricia Katz, a landscape architect with the city, designed the new playground, which includes the tallest climbing dome and only circular Neos play equipment in the city. In addition, the blue, red, and purple colors represent the school colors of the four colleges in the neighborhood: Morehouse, Spelman, Atlanta, and Morris Brown.

"Cleopas R. Johnson Park Playground is the fourth TPL project MetLife Foundation has supported in Atlanta," said Dennis White, president and CEO of MetLife Foundation. "We are pleased to continue our partnership with TPL, the City and communities in creating outdoor spaces for Atlanta youth to play and grow."

"We are very grateful to MetLife Foundation for this support for our work in Atlanta," said Ms. Tapp. "Cleopas R. Johnson Park is right in the middle of neighborhoods and families who can take advantage of this new playground. It is something which we think will be heavily used by the people who live there."

MetLife Foundation, which was established by MetLife in 1976, supports education, health, civic, and cultural programs. MetLife Foundation has supported more than 40 of TPL's urban projects across the nation, contributing $4.1 million for park and playground creation in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York City, Oakland, St. Paul, and San Francisco.

The Trust for Public Land, created in 1972, protects land for people to enjoy as parks, community gardens, playgrounds, and natural lands across the nation. TPL depends on the support of individuals, foundations, and corporations. In Georgia, TPL has protected more than 21,000 acres in 34 counties, with a value of more than $250 million. Our projects include city parks, Chattahoochee River protection, historic sites and natural areas.