Piedmont Park comes up dry — again

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Piedmont Park’s efforts to find an underground water source failed — again.

That doesn’t bode well for the crown jewel of Atlanta’s park system or the large-scale events like the Atlanta Pride Festival that suffered when they were forced out.

The two drilling attempts cost the Piedmont Park Conservancy $50,000 apiece. The first attempt in June led to a well that generates 50 gallons of water per minute, enough for a residence, said Monica Thornton, the conservancy’s vice president and chief marketing development officer. That will help to water the trees, but the conservancy also needs water to maintain the athletic fields that underwent a $2.1 million renovation, not to mention the rest of the park.

As the Conservancy pursues a 53-acre expansion north of the park, it could attempt to drill more wells, Thornton said. The park has identified seven potential drilling sites.

Even without the large festivals, the park is “still getting a lot of use and still very fragile,” Thornton said. “This park is for Atlanta,” she said. “It’s always been a fairground. It’s always been the gathering spot for Atlanta, and it always will be our mission is to protect the park and conserve it as a cultural amenity for all of Atlanta.”

Park officials have relented a bit, though, as some sports groups are allowed back onto the facility. The National Flag Football League of Atlanta returns to the park on Thursday for its fall season after being booted for its spring season earlier this year. The Hotlanta Softball League‘s Fall Ball hits the Piedmont softball diamonds on Sept. 21.

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