Once Target Of Protestors Botanical Garden Parking Deck Now Good As Gold

The very construction project that drew withering criticism from residents of adjacent neighborhoods has now received one of the nation's most prestigious environmental awards. 
The Atlanta Botanical Garden's  new parking deck and visitors' center. is as good as gold.

During the years leading up to its construction, the Atlanta Botanical Garden's parking deck...and new visitors' center...got some people pretty riled up.
Protestors argued that the deck would add congestion to the park area....and that it wouldn't be located in the best place...

"It's the gold standard for green architecture" said executive director of the Atlanta Botanical Garden Mary Pat Matheson proudly.

Now that's it's built, the visitors' center/parking deck project has drawn the attention of another group.

"We were just awarded the gold certification under the L.E.E.D. program" Matheson said, "which is leadership in energy and environmental design."

The U.S. Green Building Council has given the Atlanta Botanical Garden its second highest environmental ranking....for things like green roofs which naturally cool the rooms below....for the glass walls that open when it's comfortable outside and automatically turn off the cooling or heating.

"We had" Matheson said, "I think over ninety percent of waste material recycled on both projects."

Storm drains carry rainwater to an underground cistern to be used for the fountains and to water some of the plants.
And magnolias and pine trees obscure some...and soon all of the parking deck from view.
And because the garden now shares this deck with Piedmont Park, more green space opened up for both facilities.

"my hope, really, as a member of this community is we will change our standards for parking decks in Atlanta" said Matheson. "Let's hide the cars. Let's green them up. Let's make them incorporated in to a city of trees."

A member of the "friends of Piedmont Park" said they're still not happy with the location of the parking deck, but that the controversy is over.
And to the array of colors at the Atlanta Botanical Garden...add one more.....gold. 
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