Atlanta BeltLine Seeks Funding to Complete Trails Before 2030

New revenue would enhance the creation of new affordable housing and jobs

Legislation to create a Special Service District (SSD) within the Atlanta BeltLine Planning Area was introduced at the Atlanta City Council meeting on Tuesday, January 19. This new revenue source would ensure completion of the 22-mile loop of mainline, multi-use trails and stimulate jobs and economic recovery.

Without additional funding, Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. contends the trail corridor would not be completed before the Tax Allocation District (TAD) expires in 2030. Due to early legal disputes followed by a recession, the TAD will generate at least $1 billion less than originally projected. The estimated cost to design and construct the remaining trail corridor is $350 million.  The finished project would yield a $10 billion economic impact and 50,000 permanent jobs for the City of Atlanta.

“This additional funding moves us one step closer to our vision for creating One Atlanta,” said Mayor Bottoms. “I am encouraged by this latest commitment to move our plans for affordable housing and community revitalization forward.”

An SSD is a geographic district created through legislation that levies additional property taxes to provide local government services. In the case of the BeltLine, commercial and multi-family property owners within the Atlanta BeltLine Planning Area (which includes the half-mile on either side of the corridor) would see an estimated 2-mill increase or two-tenths of a penny per dollar in assessed value of each property. Funds go towards trail acquisition, design, and construction.

“Fulfilling the promise of the Atlanta BeltLine, and especially the benefits to the community, is more important than ever,” said Clyde Higgs, CEO of Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. (ABI). “The proposed district will bring value to communities by focusing on greater job creation, housing affordability and equitable economic access which all support Mayor Bottoms’ One Atlanta Plan.”

Residents living in single family homes would not be subject to the increase. Almost half of the commercial and multi-family parcels contained within the proposed SSD would pay less than an additional $250 annually, or about $20 a month.

Additionally, new dedicated funding for trail completion through the SSD – combined with philanthropic support and the growth in TAD revenue – would generate an additional $50 million in funding to create deeper and longer-term housing affordability around the BeltLine and $7 million in small business support.

“Enacting the Special Service District will help ensure that the BeltLine is home to 5,600 units of affordable housing by 2030,” said Councilmember Dustin Hillis, who introduced the ordinance in Tuesday’s meeting of Atlanta City Council.

Affordable housing remains a top priority for the Atlanta BeltLine organizations. In addition to ABI’s commitment to meeting the project’s 5,600 unit goal, the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership (ABP) recently launched the Legacy Resident Retention Program – a $12.5 million, philanthropically-funded initiative to alleviate the burden of increasing property taxes for legacy homeowners. This new program complements existing Home Empowerment Workshops that connect BeltLine residents with resources to stay in their homes.

“Atlanta’s philanthropic leaders have made early and ongoing investments in the BeltLine and want to see its benefits brought to all the communities it will connect. Our continued fundraising success is dependent upon those who benefit most financially from the Atlanta BeltLine’s completion making a meaningful contribution as well,” said ABP Executive Director Rob Brawner. “We must pass the Special Service District legislation now.”
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