As part of the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership’s ongoing efforts to educate the public about the Atlanta BeltLine project and engage the public through our programming, we hope you will enjoy this recap of 2016. For more information about Atlanta BeltLine, Inc.’s implementation activities, please check out their 2016 year in review recap.
2016 was a phenomenal year for people to live near, connect with and play on the Atlanta BeltLine. More than 1.7 million people experienced the Eastside Trail last year; significant progress was made on two more trail sections; Art on the Atlanta BeltLine was back in a big way; and voters overwhelmingly supported two sales tax measures in November that will provide significant public funding to help deliver the full Atlanta BeltLine vision. Scroll down to see some of our 2016 highlights, viewed through the lens of the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership’s mission to enable the Atlanta BeltLine project by raising money from the private and philanthropic sectors; engage the public through programming, events and activities; and empower residents through partnerships that bring about positive outcomes in the areas of health, housing and economic development.
TSPLOST and MARTA Sales Tax Measures Approved By a Wide Margin
On November 8, City of Atlanta voters overwhelmingly supported historic funding that will redefine our city’s future. Passage of the TSPLOST and MARTA sales tax measures paved the way for significant improvements to mobility across our entire city. Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. devoted resources to educating citizens about the referenda, while the Partnership focused its efforts on advocating in support of the two measures. The TSPLOST provides funding to purchase the remainder of the 22-mile Atlanta BeltLine corridor and the MARTA sales tax secures local funding for BeltLine transit. You can read Mayor Reed’s statement on the passage of the two measures here.
Westside Trail Construction: In November 2014, Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. broke ground on the Westside Trail. This summer, it will be complete – delivered on time and on budget. In 2016, concrete was poured on two major portions of the trail: from University Avenue to Allene Avenue and from north of Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive to Lena Street. Check out the construction blog for the latest update on Westside Trail construction. We remain grateful for lead gifts from the James M. Cox Foundation/PATH Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, and Susan and Richard Anderson which helped secure $18 million of federal TIGER V funding for the project.
Eastside Trail Extension: Ground was broken on the first phase of the Eastside Trail’s Southern Extension this past summer. This phase of the project will bring the trail from its current terminus at Irwin Street south to Kirkwood Avenue in Reynoldstown. Completion is estimated for the summer of 2017. When funding is secured, work will continue on the second phase of the extension which will take the trail to Memorial Drive. You can read the latest and see construction photos here. We remain grateful for lead contributions from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation and Kendeda Fund that helped pay for this project.
Lantern Parade, Art on the Atlanta BeltLine, & Old Fourth Ward Fall Fest
Art on the Atlanta BeltLine, presented by Google Fiber and 10th & Monroe, was back in 2016 and better than ever. This year’s 3-month celebration kicked off September 10 with the Lantern Parade, presented this year by Wellstar Atlanta Medical Center and hosted again by Chantelle Rytter and the Krewe of the Grateful Gluttons. There was no better place to watch the parade than from the grandstands at the Old Fourth Ward Fall Festival, presented by Xfinity – a two-day event featuring live music, lantern-making workshops, food trucks, kids and pet zones, and more.
Run.Walk.Go! Race Series, Free Fitness Classes & Play Days
Our Run.Walk.Go! Race Series, presented by Delta Air Lines, featured two races in 2016. The Westside 5K on July 16 featured more than 500 runners and walkers winding their way through the historic West End and Westview communities. Our Eastside 10K on December 3 was our largest race ever with over 1,600 registered runners.
The Atlanta BeltLine Partnership’s free fitness class series, presented by Cigna, continues to be one of the most popular ways for people to get out, get active, and enjoy a fun, healthy lifestyle on the Atlanta BeltLine. More than 20,000 people participated in one or more of our 300+ classes conducted at various locations along the Atlanta BeltLine.
The Partnership put on three free Play Days in 2016: April 16 at our Washington Park Jamboree, presented by Kaiser Permanente, July 16 at West End Park, and October 8 at Boulevard Crossing Park. Play Days are sponsored by Toyota and NEEF.
In May, the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership teamed up with the Annie E. Casey Foundation to present Pittsburgh Rise, a one-of-a-kind neighborhood festival created to celebrate the budding revitalization of a series of neighborhoods along the Atlanta BeltLine Southside Trail corridor.
State of the Atlanta BeltLine
In May, the Partnership joined with the Council for Quality Growth to present State of the Atlanta BeltLine at Park Tavern at Piedmont Park. Sponsored by Northwestern Mutual, the event highlighted the Atlanta BeltLine project’s collaborative efforts and their impact in driving current and future projects around the Atlanta BeltLine. Speakers included Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Fulton County Commissioner Joan Garner, APS Board Chair Courtney English, Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. President & CEO Paul Morris, and Scott Selig, Vice President of Acquisitions and Development for Selig Enterprises.
New ABP Offices and Eastside Trail Visitors Center
In late October, the Partnership moved into new offices at Stoveworks on Krog Street – directly on the Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail, just south of the current Irwin Street terminus. Over the coming months we will design the first ever Atlanta BeltLine visitors center, which we plan to open this summer when the Eastside Trail southern extension opens. For the first time, we’ll be able to invite Atlanta BeltLine users into a space where they can interact with exhibits and displays to learn about the project, our programs, the leaders, partners and donors who have helped bring the vision to life.
We are incredibly grateful for the lead financial support from the James M. Cox Foundation and major gifts from PwC and MailChimp that have enabled us to now call the Atlanta BeltLine home.
Homeowner Education Workshops
As part of our efforts to mitigate displacement, the Partnership and Home Place Consulting hosted a series of free homeowner education workshops last fall for residents in communities along the Atlanta BeltLine Westside Trail to help existing homeowners in Atlanta BeltLine neighborhoods take advantage of available resources to stay in their homes, or knowledgeably evaluate opportunities if they are considering selling. Strong attendance and feedback will result in additional workshops in 2017 and the creation of an online guide of available resources that the Partnership will publish in early 2017.
Westside Trail Community Health Grants Program
In August, the Partnership and Kaiser Permanente of Georgia announced Westside Trail Community Health Grants to provide funding to organizations interested in developing and implementing unique, health-related programming in communities along the Atlanta BeltLine Westside Trail. Applications are currently being reviewed and grants will be awarded in the summer of 2017.
Mid-November marked the launch of our annual Atlanta BeltLine Membership Campaign, which supports our ongoing programming , events and capital fundraising for parks and trails.
We added a fun twist to this year’s campaign. Anyone who purchased or was gifted a membership by December 31 was entered to win one of three incredible Atlanta BeltLine-themed prizes: a custom-designed Tiny Door from Karen Anderson, a chance to lead the 2017 Lantern Parade alongside Chantelle and the Krewe, or a fixed-speed bike from Mountain High Outfitters. See photos of our prize winners below. Our annual membership drive and the contest have ended, but you can always support the Atlanta BeltLine vision by becoming a member at beltline.org/member.
In July 2016, the Board of Directors named Rob Brawner the Partnership’s newest Executive Director, replacing Chuck Meadows. Brawner has more than a decade of experience with the Atlanta BeltLine. He served as Deputy Executive Director under Meadows and as Interim Executive Director in 2014 following the departure of original Executive Director Valarie Wilson.
In January 2017, the Partnership announced that Dallas Clement, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Cox Enterprises, Inc., had succeeded Mike Donnelly, Executive Vice President and Atlanta Regional President for Wells Fargo, as Chairman of the Board of Directors. Donnelly had served as Board Chair since 2015 and will remain on the Board.