Friends of Peachtree Hills Park History
The Friends of Peachtree Hills Park (Park Pride’s first official “friends of the park” group) began in 1995 when Peachtree Hills resident Barbara (“Fannie”) Schubert looked down at the park from the end of Hurst and imagined what it could be with the kudzu, ivy, and trash gone, and the strangled stream with eroding banks a beautiful feature. Trash including beer bottles littered the park despite regular removal by Jim Leaphart. Early volunteers Betty, Ron, Susan Conger, Peggy & Bob Woodall, Kathleen Moriarty, Janice Hall, Martha (Kuckleberg) Church, Jim Leaphart, Howard Grimes, Juan Rivero, Ray Gowan, Jerry Matheny, David Goldin, Frank McComb & Thomas Johnson helped. Jim planted a US flag at the north end of the field where erosion was worst to proclaim that this park is ours and is worth saving.
The recreation building was the oldest in the Parks system and smelled like sewage. Despite the sad indoor conditions, kids didn’t go outside for fear of stepping in dog waste. Even long-term neighbors said, ”Park, what park?” Barbara asked for a new building and legislation to renovate the rec center was passed while she was PHCA President and construction began under Kathleen Moriarty’s first term as President. Renovation began in early 2002 and took a year, resulting in new bleachers and gym floor; renovation of downstairs rooms and restrooms; creation of 2 meeting rooms upstairs including a small kitchen in one, and installation of an elevator.
Development of the 52-acre Lindbergh Station property was announced in 1997. The Peachtree Hills Traffic and Pedestrian Safety Committee formed to devise the neighborhood’s response to the development. In 2002, after complex negotiations (led by Kathleen) with nearby neighborhoods, Carter and Associates, MARTA and BellSouth (now AT&T), legislation passed to dedicate the development’s impact fees to traffic calming and sidewalk projects in neighborhoods adjacent to it. Those fees were used to secure a 2 for 1 grant from the Federal DOT for a total of $4 million and funded construction of continuous sidewalks on both sides of Peachtree Hills Avenue providing safe pedestrian access to the Park.
In addition to impact fees, Lindbergh MARTA development companies donated $42,000 towards the purchase of new, state of the art playground equipment. The old heavy iron equipment was rusted, broken and dangerous. Kathleen Moriarty lead the fundraising effort that raised ~ $70,000. Elizabeth Carr and Beth Ryan led the committee of moms who selected equipment that 50 volunteers installed in September 2003. By November the surface “play turf” was spread and the new playground was up and running.