Protect the Watershed • Preserve Green Space • Enhance Community
“They’re from the Bobby Jones Golf Course,” Peggy McCormick said, looking over at the ducks and geese swimming on the century-old pond..."click here to read more
This once quiet area is located just a block from the now busy Peachtree Road, and is surrounded by condominiums, townhouses, apartments, and mixed-use development. The neighborhood is anchored by Christ the King Cathedral and School, and over the years has grown to include 325 single family homes and 340 households in condominiums and townhouses, including the Parkside on Lindbergh, The Barony, The Gates, Plaza Towers, Evermay and Peachtree House.
Beyond Peachtree Heights East and within a half mile radius of Duck Pond Park , numerous schools, shops, and churches support the residential community. Garden Hills and E. Rivers elementary schools, the Atlanta International School, the Cathedral of St. Philip, and Second-Ponce de Leon Baptist Church are all nearby. Hundreds of residential homes in Garden Hills, Peachtree Hills, and Peachtree Heights West and households in high-rise apartments and multi-family developments along Peachtree Road are also within a 10 minute walk of the Duck Pond Park.
The Atlanta Beltline Trail, when completed, will be only a fraction of a mile from the park. The extension of this popular path and planned improvements to the Peachtree Road corridor are expected to bring even more visitors on foot and bike to Duck Pond Park.
For over a century the Duck Pond Park has been a much-loved and enjoyed natural green space for visitors from all over Atlanta. While Una Rivers offered her neighbors a treasured asset, her gift did not include an endowment to maintain and preserve the park. The park receives no funding from the City of Atlanta, and for over 90 years the Peachtree Heights East Neighborhood Association (PHENA) and its predecessors have supported and managed the Duck Pond Park, through volunteer work days, fundraising events and annual dues.
Together with the Ladies of the Lake Garden Club and its nonprofit foundation, Ladies of the Lake Foundation, Inc., these committed neighborhood groups have preserved and protected the Duck Pond Park to be enjoyed not only today, but for generations to come.
The Duck Pond Park is part of the Peachtree Creek watershed. Storm water flows from developed urban areas with impervious surfaces and little green space to filter or slow the storm water before it reaches the pond. The environmental impact of this runoff is significant.
The Duck Pond Park serves as the drainage basin and silt collector for 112 acres, including 58 acres to the north of Peachtree Heights East, before it flows into Peachtree Creek. The impact of increasing storm water runoff includes:
• Stream bank erosion
• Land erosion
• Sedimentation build-up
• Deteriorating infrastructure
Over the last several decades, the water runoff through Duck Pond Park has resulted in significant environmental deterioration. In 1998, wooden foot bridges over the streams and pond banks had collapsed with hard rain, streambeds had eroded, and silt had collected to a dangerous level in the main body of the pond, threatening its future existence. It was also evident the storm water infrastructure implemented by the City of Atlanta had proved inadequate to reduce or hold-off the on-going damage.
Phase I commenced in 1999, and raised $460,000 to address the immediate capital needs that had been defined in a thorough review and study. A key component of Phase I was a major expense for draining and dredging the Duck Pond back to its original depth and constructing two siltation ponds to feed into the main Pond.
As a result of the Phase I improvements and subsequent bi-annual dredging of the silt ponds, the water quality of the Duck Pond has improved considerably and the amount of silt collecting in the main pond slowed significantly.
Following the completion of Phase I, other projects supported by PHENA and the Ladies of the Lake further improved the Park’s environmental health. Pond aerators were installed and regular tree planting programs were conducted in partnership with the City of Atlanta and Trees Atlanta, and USDA-recommended wildlife management programs were initiated.
However, in the decade following the completion of Phase I of the Century Plan, the extreme drought over several years killed lawn grass and the exposed topsoil eroded into the Pond; attempts at seeding proved ineffective without regular irrigation. In response, PHENA raised $60,000 to correct these irrigation and siltation issues. In addition, a risk assessment study conducted by civil engineers was initiated to provide specific guidelines for needed long-term improvements.
The 2012 engineering assessment identified critical, much-needed improvements necessary to control and substantially reduce the erosion that continues to cause increased siltation and a loss of trees and natural vegetation. In 2014, professionals were engaged to study the entire ecosystem and develop a concept design. The concept design for The Century Plan includes five elements:
• The Duck Pond edges
• Open lawns in the upper and lower sections
• The naturalized stream corridor
• Native plant zones
• Path systems
We are now ready for Phase II. We have evaluated the critical elements and improvements of the Plan and established our first priorities to include:
• Stone wall and bank stabilization at pond edge
• Erosion control measures
• Planting including shelf construction at pond
• Stream bank stabilization and restoration in middle park
• Headwalls restoration
The budget for this fundraising effort is $550,000.