Supporters of improvements to Atlanta Memorial Park in Buckhead and friends and family members of the late Stacey Norris Kessler recently gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony on the first anniversary of her death to kick off efforts to build the Stacey Norris Kessler Memorial Gardens at the Bobby Jones Golf Course on the park property. She died of brain cancer in 2018.

Located in between the course’s Cupp Links and the Path Foundation’s walking path along Northside Drive, the gardens will provide golfers and walkers/joggers around the park and the golf course with over 350 newly planted trees, shrubs and strategically planted flowers into a well-organized garden that can be a point of enjoyment and reflection. They are named for a longtime park supporter.

The gardens also will include the Southern Steel Magnolias Courtyard, a 20-by-20-foot area adorned with flowers, benches and a sculpture. This place of reflection along the path will be a place to honor the strong women of the South who have made millions of laps around the park talking about life’s challenges with their friends and family and turning the difficulties of life and family into an elegant “ballet” (Kessler was a professional ballerina for several years, lived near the park and walked around it often).

Loved ones can honor the strong women of their lives with a paver containing their names (over 400 will be available), and in so doing, this courtyard can serve as a place to visit with their strong “Steel Magnolias” for decades to come. Kessler’s husband Mark said the plants will take two years to mature, and more may be added.

For information on buying a paver, which cost $250 each, email bjgcf2016@gmail.com.