Stanton Park is clearly a much-needed oasis for the children of Peoplestown and the surrounding Southeast Atlanta neighborhoods. Perhaps I’m just in a contemplative mood, but it also seems to perfectly engender the sum-total of current life and modern issues in Atlanta.
Stanton Park itself is a shining example of everything-one-could-want in a community space and clearly no expense was spared. Hallelujah, there’s even a bathroom! On this hot Friday afternoon, the park and splash pad were literally overflowing with children. Every section of the park was not just in use, but thronged with children. The one prophetic exception being the baseball field, laying dormant like so much of America’s old-fashioned fields of dreams.
I do not shrink from a crowd, I often even delight in one, but even I was a bit overwhelmed by the sheer numbers visiting Stanton. “How crowded could it really be?” you ask. The line for one slide alone was 25-30 children deep. It was so crowded children could not play, only wait in deep lines on nearly every play structure. We lasted about one hour before my 4 year old, who has waited through restaurants in Paris and in lines at Disney, threw in the towel and was ready to leave. I found myself asking familiar Southeast Atlantan questions like “Why hasn’t this area gotten something sooner?” and “How long will a park like Stanton last if used so heavily but not well maintained?”. The pessimist in me echoes that I have seen too many quiet, underutilized parks in “nice” neighborhoods and yet there never seem to be enough parks in poorer neighborhoods where they are used most.
As a modern Atlantan, I feel it is important to try not to hold on to too much of the past but to try to spend most of our time focusing on the present and the future. With that mindset, Stanton paints Atlanta’s future as bright indeed. Full of shiny new playgrounds and thronged with Atlanta’s future adults. But the realist in me thinks that I won’t return to Stanton as often as I’d like if the throngs and my thoughts after visiting are bigger than the park itself.
LOCATION: End of Martin Street SE
SHADE: bring your sunscreen! One shade pavillion
EQUIPMENT: Fantastic! Splash pad, multiple play structures, “creative” play structures, large swing set
OTHER: Bathrooms, outside shower, baseball field, large open field, picnic tables, benches
Mom: 1 thumb up (due to crowds)