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Skanska, Atlanta Mission Mark Opening of First Community Garden in Downtown Atlanta

March 23,2011

Atlanta Urban Garden Offers Healthy Food, Vocational Training, Therapy for Homeless

Skanska USA and Atlanta Mission today held a community event to announce the opening of the Atlanta Urban Garden – a garden in downtown Atlanta that will provide healthy food options, vocational training and therapy to more than 500 homeless and recovering men served daily through Atlanta Mission’s men’s facility.

The Atlanta Urban Garden is located on a 2.36-acre lot in downtown Atlanta at 377 Centennial Olympic Park Drive. The property, located in between Skanska’s offices on Ivan Allen Jr. Boulevard and Atlanta Mission’s Fuqua Hall on Mills Street, is managed by The Integral Group. 

Skanska USA provided free construction management services, and civil engineering partner Long Engineering, Inc. donated its services for the project as well. The garden will consist of 24 raised beds, planted and supported by community partners. Plantings will begin in mid-April.

“The Atlanta Urban Garden supports existing Atlanta Mission programs and services, such as nutritional meals and vocational training, that offer the hope of life transformation for homeless men, women and children,” said Jim Reese, president and CEO of Atlanta Mission. “We’re thrilled to see the garden project come to fruition, and thankful to our corporate sponsors and Skanska for helping develop the plan, leading the construction and working with the City to obtain necessary approvals.” 

Nutrition is a major concern for the urban poor and homeless as donations of food are often items such as breads and processed foods, which are less costly but also less nutritious. Offering healthy nutrition through fresh fruits and vegetables from the garden will offer physical wellness to Atlanta Mission’s clients. 

The beds will be tended by Atlanta Mission clients, offering vocational training to help homeless men prepare to return to the workforce. It is expected the gardening will also provide a therapeutic avenue for men recovering from long-term life controlling issues and addiction. According to Reese, “An essential component of recovery is completing purposeful work. Clients working in the Atlanta Urban Garden will have the opportunity to do work that will bring healing and benefit to themselves and their peers at Atlanta Mission, thereby reinforcing community responsibility.”

“We’re pleased to be a part of such an important project for the downtown community,” said John Reyhan, executive vice president and Georgia general manager for Skanska. “Skanska has been involved with the Atlanta Mission for a number of years, and we’re happy to offer our services and to grow this relationship through the Atlanta Urban Garden project.”

Atlanta Mission is accepting corporate sponsorships for the Atlanta Urban Garden, which will provide the tools to produce fruit and vegetables in one bed for the 2011 harvest season and help fight homelessness. For more information on becoming a sponsor, please contact Joshua Harrelson with Atlanta Mission at Joshua.Harrelson@AtlantaMission.org.


For further information please contact:
Jessica Murray, Skanska, Jessica.Murray@skanska.com, 404.946.7468
Patrick Hill, Jackson Spalding, PatHill@JacksonSpalding.com, 404.724.2506

This and previous releases can also be found at www.skanska.com.

Skanska USA Inc. is a leading provider of construction, preconstruction consulting, general contracting and design-build services to a broad range of industries including science and technology, healthcare, education, high-tech, aviation, transportation, sports and entertainment. Headquartered in New York with 32 offices across the country, Skanska USA has approximately 7,000 employees, and its 2010 revenues were $4.8 billion, representing 30 percent of Skanska’s global revenues.

Skanska is one of the world’s leading project development and construction groups with expertise in construction, development of commercial and residential projects and public-private partnerships. Based on its global green experience, Skanska aims to be each client’s first choice for Green solutions. The Group currently has 52,000 employees in selected home markets in Europe, the U.S. and Latin America. Headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, and listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange, Skanska's sales in 2010 totalled $15.7 billion.

About Atlanta Mission
Atlanta Mission is the city’s largest and longest-running provider of services to homeless men, women and children. Established in 1938, Atlanta Mission provides emergency shelter, temporary shelter, recovery programming, job attainment and transitional housing for more than 950 men, women and children daily. Atlanta Mission is a 501(c)3 organizational funded primarily by individuals donations.