Three-mile addition represents historic $43 million investment in southwest Atlanta
ATLANTA – Mayor Kasim Reed will lead the Atlanta BeltLine Westside Trail groundbreaking on Wednesday, November 12 at 10:30 a.m. The Westside Trail, the next major milestone for the Atlanta BeltLine’s network of trails, transit, parks and green space will be a three mile addition running from University Avenue in Adair Park to Lena Street at Washington Park.
“This is a historic moment for southwest Atlanta and the entire City,” said Mayor Kasim Reed. “The Westside Trail represents an unprecedented $43 million investment in the future of southwest Atlanta, and its construction will move us closer to our goal of fully building out the Atlanta BeltLine to connect every corner of our city. It is a game-changer, and it will bring new vitality and investment to the Westside’s historic neighborhoods.”
The design of the Westside Trail project was led by Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. in partnership with the Georgia Department of Transportation and support from a design team led by Kimley-Horn and Associates. The initial phase of a project this complex normally takes two years to complete. Yet the process took only nine months with the help of a unique partnership between the City of Atlanta, the Georgia Department of Transportation, the USDOT Federal Highway Administration, Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. and its design team. Construction of this project is expected to take approximately 24 months.
When completed, the Westside Trail will have a 14-foot wide concrete multi-use trail in this historic railroad corridor. The project will also include the construction of 14 access points, 11 of which are ADA-accessible, along with lighting, security cameras, signage, way-finding, mile-markers, and underground infrastructure. An expansion of the Atlanta BeltLine arboretum will blend with hundreds of large, native trees and integrate more than 30 acres of inviting and usable new green space. The project will be constructed in preparation for future transit that is currently is the planning stages. The Westside Trail connects four schools and four parks, as well as the residents of 10 southwest Atlanta neighborhoods to public transit, existing community businesses and future economic development sites.
In 2013, the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded the City of Atlanta an $18 million TIGER V grant to help fund construction of this $43 million phase of the Atlanta BeltLine. The grant significantly expedited the construction of the Westside Trail. The Georgia Department of Transportation enabled the purchase of the land via a $9.5 million local match. The remaining costs are funded by both public and private sources, including a lead gift of $5 million from Jim Kennedy, honorary co-chair of Atlanta BeltLine Capital Campaign Committee, through the James M. Cox Foundation and PATH Foundation.
“We are extremely grateful to everyone who made this landmark moment possible,” said Rob Brawner, Interim Executive Director of the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership. “Thank you to our partners, donors, and supporters for taking part in this extraordinary project. By reuniting long-separated neighborhoods, the Westside Trail promises to serve as a foundation to strengthen surrounding communities.”
“This groundbreaking represents the fulfillment of a long-held promise to the neighbors of west Atlanta, made possible through a remarkable public and private partnership at the local, state, and national levels,” said Paul Morris, President and CEO of Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. (ABI). “Working hand in hand with multiple organizations and individuals illustrated how we can advance all elements of the Atlanta BeltLine throughout the city simultaneously. We must continue to do this as we move forward so that we deliver on the full promise of this transformative initiative to the citizens of Atlanta and the benefit of the entire metropolitan region.”
The groundbreaking ceremony will take place at the trailhead near Allene Avenue, across from the Atlanta BeltLine Urban Farm site presently under development. The Atlanta BeltLine Urban Farm sits on five acres adjacent to the Westside Trail and will serve as a model for the Atlanta BeltLine’s Urban Agriculture Network, providing access to fresh fruit and produce to southwest Atlanta. The groundbreaking site recently showcased sculptures, murals and performances as part of Art on the Atlanta BeltLine. For more information about the Westside Trail and the groundbreaking ceremony, please visit www.beltline.org/westsidetrail.