Monday night, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced the approval of funding to complete the 22-mile Atlanta BeltLine. The Atlanta City Council approved legislation creating a Special Service District (SSD) that will provide approximately $100 million towards completing the Atlanta BeltLine’s 22-mile multi-use trail loop. Plus, the passage of the SSD will open the avenue to an additional $100 million in philanthropic contributions, as well as an anticipated $50 million in grants and other sources. Finally, the legislation also backs an additional $100 million from the BeltLine Tax Allocation District (TAD) for trail construction and other initiatives.

The closing of the loop on the south side and west side portions of the BeltLine has been a point of contention. Business owners and community advocates have watched as other areas of the city enjoy the benefits of commercial development and have waited for their turn.

“The Atlanta BeltLine has offered tremendous benefits for businesses and property owners along its completed trails,” said Mayor Bottoms. “The SSD will help give communities throughout the city the opportunity to enjoy the benefits associated with the closing of the loop.”

With the recent improvements to MLK from Mercedes-Benz Stadium to Joseph P. Lowery Boulevard. Meanwhile, legacy residents have worried about rising rents and property values could drive them out, triggering gentrification.

However, the new funding will enable $45 million in additional affordable housing funds, $12 million in additional small business support, and up to $150 million in construction funds targeted towards minority-owned contractors. Completion of the trail corridor is expected to deliver a total economic impact of $10 billion and nearly 50,000 permanent jobs for the City of Atlanta, according to a release by the City of Atlanta.

“Our ABI team is thankful to Atlanta City Council for their leadership on the SSD,” said Clyde Higgs, CEO of Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. “A completed Atlanta BeltLine loop is a pathway to greater equity and long-term mobility benefits for residents, business owners, and property owners throughout the city. We look forward to deploying all the resources at our disposal to ensure all are able to stay in place and thrive.”

ABI’s economic development team will work with individual businesses as well as business associations and Community Improvement Districts to build a plan to address their needs through a comprehensive economic development plan; the housing team will outline where and how the additional $45 million will be deployed, and multiple departments will explore the next steps in procuring minority-owned firms as construction projects advance. ABP will solidify discussions with the philanthropic community.

“Our board, staff, and supporters sincerely appreciate Mayor Bottoms and the Atlanta City Council for their leadership in advancing the Atlanta BeltLine vision,” said Atlanta BeltLine Partnership Executive Director Rob Brawner. “We look forward to continuing to work with donors and partners to fully connect our city and ensure BeltLine residents can live, work, and thrive in their communities.”

The BeltLine is estimated to be completed by 2030.

Photo: iFly Magazine

Itoro Umontuen currently serves as Managing Editor of The Atlanta Voice. Upon his arrival to the historic publication, he served as their Director of Photography. As a mixed-media journalist, Umontuen...

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