A pocket park’s clock chimes a welcome.
At 87, Sandy Springs resident Charlie Loudermilk is an Atlanta treasure. After borrowing $500 in 1955, he founded the Aaron’s rent-to-own furniture chain and built it into a $2 billion nationwide chain of 1,985 stores. But what really gives him “treasure” status is that along his road to success, he donated millions to various nonprofits in Atlanta and worked tirelessly to revitalize the Buckhead community and the city.
To honor his years of service, the Buckhead Community Improvement District (BCID), in partnership with the City of Atlanta and Livable Buckhead, celebrated the reopening of the Charlie Loudermilk Park at the triangle where Peachtree Road, Roswell Road and Sardis Way intersect.
“I’ve always felt that Buckhead needed an identifying object, and I’m very honored that the park was named for me,” Loudermilk says. “As an alumnus of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, I always admired the Morehead-Patterson clock tower and felt that a replica would be the perfect landmark.”
Loudermilk got his wish. A smaller version of the famous UNC clock tower stands at the northern end, and a water feature on the Peachtree side provides ambient noise to mask the sounds of traffic. “We hope the combination of hardscapes and landscape, tables and benches will help knit together the public and private sectors and become a gathering place,” says Jim Durrett, executive director of the Buckhead Community Improvement District.
Dignitaries who attended the rededication of the park included Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and members of the City Council, as well as iconic builder John Portman, community leaders and Loudermilk’s family.
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