Olympic Legacy

It is hard to believe that in 1993 Centennial Olympic Park was a rundown, multi-block eyesore in the middle of downtown Atlanta.
Billy Payne, chief executive of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games (ACOG), spent hours gazing from his nearby office balcony at empty lots and abandoned buildings. He soon envisioned a beautiful gathering space for visitors and residents during the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games, and for years to come.

Before Olympics

Atlanta responded to that vision with tremendous support. The estimated $75 million in development costs came entirely from private-sector donations, including the sale of commemorative bricks (also used to pave a portion of the Park), funds raised by the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, and local philanthropic donations.

During the Centennial Olympic Games, the Park hosted the Festival of the American South, a multi-cultural, multimedia expression of southern life. Following the Games, a large portion of the Park was closed and redesigned for daily public use.

During Olympics

To commemorate the Park’s 20th anniversary in 2016, the Legacy of Dreams capital campaign launched with the goal of raising funds to update the Park for future generations. Renovations were completed in 2019 and feature West Lawn Promenade, Fountain of Rings Plaza featuring the Olympic Rings Spectacular, Unity Plaza, Paralympic Plaza, and updates to Southern Company Amphitheater.
The Park is much more than a legacy to the 1996 Summer Olympic Games and a catalyst for Atlanta’s downtown revitalization efforts. Today, Centennial Olympic Park anchors a thriving entertainment and hospitality district spurring billions of dollars of economic impact.