On Friday, November 3, 2017, the Atlanta BeltLine held its “Marking a Mile” ceremony, opening up a new mile on the Eastside Trail. The Eastside Trail, which opened in 2012 as the first official multi-use, transit-ready segment to be built within the former railroad corridor, originally extended from Monroe Drive to Irwin Street. The newest extension brings the trail a mile further south, expanding it through Cabbagetown and Reynoldstown to Kirkwood Avenue. We are two neighborhoods closer to connecting 45 communities and creating a more equitable and inclusive Atlanta.
We couldn’t have asked for a nicer morning for the ceremony – the sun was shining and the weather was warm, but not hot. The ceremony was held on the new part of the trail that runs through the grassy area next to Stein Steel, and we celebrated with a backdrop of green trees and blue skies. An added bonus in this area is a grove of trees with a mulch walking path winding through it.
Our neighbors came out by the dozens to help us celebrate the occasion, as did many other partners and local elected officials. Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. (ABI) President and CEO Brian McGowan kicked off the event, noting that extending the Eastside Trail south represented the connection of two historically distinct rail corridors. This expansion, like all Atlanta BeltLine trails, was built with the goal of connecting communities to their work, activities, and most importantly, each other.
Mayor Kasim Reed also addressed the crowd, reiterating the City’s commitment to fund $60 million in land acquisition for the Atlanta BeltLine from T-SPLOST funds. Thank you to Atlanta voters! We were also joined by Councilmember Natalyn Archibong, a member of the ABI Board of Directors and Representative for Atlanta City Council District #5, which is home to the southern end of this trail expansion.
No Atlanta BeltLine project could be completed without the support of our neighborhood residents, and we were thrilled to be joined by Catherine Woodling, President of Reynoldstown Civic Improvement League. Equally as important is our partnership with our public Tax Allocation District funders, City of Atlanta, Fulton County, and Atlanta Public Schools. Representing Fulton County was Commissioner Lee Morris and representing APS was Cynthia Briscoe-Brown, who both sit on ABI’s Board of Directors.
Completing the program was Rob Brawner, Executive Director of the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership (ABP). Rob thanked our donors and funders, including the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, the Kendeda Fund, and the Waterfall Foundation. The philanthropic donations of these partners totaled more than $2 million for this project. ABP is committed to raising funds for the Atlanta BeltLine, and to date, has raised more than $55 million dollars from our private donors. We thank all of our generous donors, partners, and supporters again for their generosity. Please see additional names below!
This newly-opened trail segment is just the first phase in what will be an extension of the Eastside Trail down to Memorial Drive. The contract for that work is currently in procurement and we will announce more information as it becomes available.
If you missed the ceremony, you can hear the speakers all the way up to the ribbon cutting on our Facebook page. Most major Atlanta BeltLine events are broadcast live on our Facebook page, so remember to tune in when you can’t make it in person!
We would like to extend additional thanks to:
The design team: Kimley-Horn
The construction team: ASTRA Group
Our public and nonprofit partners: Department of Watershed Management, Department of Parks and Recreation, Department of Public Works, the Atlanta Police Department, Trees Atlanta, the Georgia Department of Transportation, PATH Foundation, Park Pride, Trust for Public Land, and The Conservation Fund.