About the Beltline:
The BeltLine is a project that will create a 22-mile live-work-play-transit corridor around Atlanta, revitalizing many rundown communities and bringing an enhanced quality of life to intown residents. The BeltLine will combine green space, trails, transit, and new development along historic rail segments that encircle the city. The project includes multi-use trails that will connect neighborhoods and provide access to MARTA, 1,200 acres of parks, affordable housing districts, and public art.
If you are interested in checking out The BeltLine for yourself, they offer bus tours so you can see the progress and route. There are free tours each Friday and Saturday, departing from the Inman Park Marta Station. You can also check out some amazing (and inspiring!) renderings online.
History and Progress:
Since 1999, Atlanta has been working to turn one local student’s vision of the BeltLine in to a reality. Multiple studies have been conducted by corporations, park planners and civic leaders to suggest the best possible execution plan for the BeltLine. In April 2005, Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin announced the creation of the BeltLine Partnership to help build public support for the project. The BeltLine is expected to take up to 25 years to complete. The project is currently underway, with a budget of $427 million for the first five-year phase of the BeltLine, which began in July 2006.
A number of trails and parks along The BeltLine have already been completed and are open to the public. Highlights completed by The BeltLine include The BeltLine West End Trail, D.H. Stanton Park, and Old Fourth Wark Park (complete with Atlanta's first public skatepark!). In late 2011, construction began on the Atlanta Streetcar Project, which will bring light rail to the downtown area. The Eastside trail, expected to be completed in 2012, will run from Piedmont Park to Inman Park, connecting the neighborhoods along the way and providing access to Ponce City Market, currently under redevelopment.
What the Project Means to Atlanta:
From 2007 – 2008, the City of Atlanta recorded its largest single-year population growth in almost 40 years. The city is experiencing a revival that it hasn’t seen in decades, and it is largely due to projects like the BeltLine, which aim to help improve previously under-developed areas and connect neighborhoods to create a walkable, livable city.
The BeltLine project will add 5,600 affordable housing units throughout the project through a Tax Allocation District, which provides incentives for buyers. Funding has also been allocated to clean up contamination being caused by the now-defunct rail line that serves as the road map for the 22-mile loop. In addition to adding value to local neighborhoods with green space and one of the most accessible arboretum corridors in America, the project will create approximately 30,000 new full-time jobs for the area and 48,000 contracted construction jobs.