Centennial Olympic Park is a 21-acre public park located downtown Atlanta that attracts about 3 million visitors a year. It's the largest downtown park in the U.S. that's been developed in the last 25 years. The centerpiece of the park is an interactive fountain featuring the Olympic Ring symbol.
There are various events and concerts at Centennial. It even has an ice skating rink and an annual 'Holiday in Lights,' where thousands of lights are displayed, during the winter holiday season. I've been to the park at different times and definitely the months of November and December are my favorites.
Atlanta's Committee for the Olympic Games CEO, Billy Payne, had the idea to convert a run-down part of town into a gathering place for visitors and residents to enjoy during the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games and subsequent years. The money for the park was raised by selling commemorative bricks in the park, local philanthropic foundation grants and funds raised by the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. Following the Olympics, a large portion of the park was closed and redesigned for daily public use. That redesigned part of the park reopened in March, 1998.
Sculpture in Park has a shrapnel mark from bombing
One of reasons I first went to Atlanta's Centennial Olympic park was to see how the park honors the hero, Richard Jewell. I've been there several times and could not find a tribute to him, but hopefully it's there and I'm not looking in the right places. Richard Jewell's actions at Centennial by most accounts saved dozens of people lives during the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games. He was a security guard and discovered a suspicious bag that turned out to be a bomb. He and other guards helped evacuate the area while the bomb squad investigated.
The bomb went off and 2 people died and 111 people were injured. What was so disturbing about the case was the FBI and media publicized him as a suspect when he was in fact a hero. He was made fun of for being a security guard and living at home with his Mom. The FBI did clear him and years later the real bomber plead guilty. Jewell was thanked by the Governor of Georgia in 2006 for saving lives. He died in 2007.
National Center for Civil and Human Rights
Centennial Olympic Park is near several major Atlanta Attractions some of which have been written about on TG. Well worth a walk through the park if your visiting the CNN Center, Georgia Aquarium, National Center for Civil and Human Rights or the World of Coca Cola .