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Park restored, pool opened in southwest Atlanta | News

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Park restored, pool opened in southwest Atlanta

ATLANTA -- As the weather heats up, there is a new place to cool down in southwest Atlanta.

A brand new pool officially opened in the Rev. James Orange Park on Wednesday.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and his family were on-hand for the ribbon-cutting.

Reed said he had been committed to re-opening closed recreation centers and pools in the city.

This park particular he said, had been known for criminal activity over the years.

"It is now a place that the community can be proud of," he said.

He thanked the Department of Parks and Recreation, Atlanta businesses and the philanthropic community for their contributions.

So far, $2 million have been spent to demolish old buildings, build a new playground and upgrade the pool facilities.

The park also got a $200,000 grant from the group Park Pride. Officials with the group talked about what a difference can make.

"Parks like this can be a catalyst for change, give people an idea and a place where they can meet and it can spill over into the community themselves," Park Pride's Michael Halicki said.

The park has had a longstanding history in the community having been founded in 1909 as Oakland Park but only recently took the name of the Rev. James Orange in 2011.

Orange was an icon of the civil rights movement.

"The contributions of Rev. Orange were so significant to his community, to Atlanta and to the national civil rights movement that it was important to Mayor Kasim Reed to honor his legacy," Parks and Recreation Commissioner Amy Phuong said.

Officials also thanked The Coca-Cola Company, friends of Rev. James Orange Park, Georgia Stand Up, Councilmember Cleta Winslow and family of Orange for their contributions and investments in the project.