Grant Park Considers Forming Group to Support Keeping Cyclorama
Residents want to keep Civil War landmark in neighborhood.
GRANT PARK — The Battle of Atlanta was a significant turning point in the American Civil War.
Fought 149 years ago, it resulted in the deaths of 12,000 Union and Confederate soldiers.
But Grant Park has been gearing up for what may be another big battle to keep the Cyclorama, located just a steps away from Zoo Atlanta from being moved out of the neighborhood.
Unlike the zoo, which has seen its attendance steadily increase each year and projects its visitor count will cross the 1 million mark by 2015, the Cyclorama hasn't enjoyed the same success.
The city, which created a task force a couple of years ago to look at boosting the Cyclorama's viability, is weighing if relocating it somewhere else would make a difference.
Noting its ties to Southeast Atlanta, Grant Park residents say it should stay put.
Atlanta City Councilwoman Carla Smith, whose district includes the neighborhood, suggested at Tuesday meeting of the Grant Park Neighborhood Association that residents form a "Friends of Cyclorama" group to coordinate those efforts.
Other neighborhoods have similar groups formed to advocate for their signature attractions. Candler Park, for example, formed the Friends of Candler Park Golf Course in 2011 when they thought it was at risk for closure.
The councilwoman noted it will take a lot of money and resources to mount a successful campaign to keep the Cyclorama in the neighborhood, but she pledged to do what she could to advocate for Grant Park.
Supporters of keeping the Cyclorama in Grant Park, which had a major, $11 million renovation in 1996, have already garnered more than 700 signatures via an existing online petition and other efforts to support the idea.
Paul Simo, chairman of GPNA's Historic Committee, said those efforts are just a starting point and that the committee is looking at further developing its strategy toward keeping the Cyclorama in the neighborhood.
The committee has scheduled a meeting for 7 p.m. on Jan. 21 at the Atlanta Preservation Center, 327 St. Paul Ave. SE.