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People, Places & Parks Thought Leadership

Advancing The BeltLine’s Next Park, Equitably

By Rob Brawner, Executive Director of Atlanta BeltLine Partnership

Through collaboration and collective investments of multiple public, private, and philanthropic entities, the BeltLine trail corridor is on schedule to be completed by 2030. Finishing other parts of the BeltLine – including the remaining parks – will require similar collaboration and investment. 

There is an immediate opportunity to advance the BeltLine vision through the development of Enota Park. Located south of I-20 with direct access from the Westside Trail, Enota Park will be a gateway to Westview, serve surrounding Westside neighborhoods, and attract BeltLine users citywide. Developing the 8-acre park will restore forest habitats, help manage stormwater runoff, create spaces for public performances and visual art, and increase recreation facilities with a basketball half-court, activity field, splash pad, and playground.

Consistent with the steps identified in How to Continue Delivering Great Parks, this shovel-ready BeltLine jewel reflects a community-informed master plan. Public funding through the BeltLine Tax Allocation District and the Moving Atlanta Forward infrastructure package is covering half the development cost. Building on a generous gift from The Coca-Cola Foundation, the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership is approaching philanthropy to secure the remaining $7 million within our broader fundraising efforts.

As part of the BeltLine vision, Enota Park is more than just new green space. It is a catalyst for improving the quality of life for local residents and advancing equitable economic and health outcomes in collaboration with current and future partners.

Housing: With poverty levels in surrounding neighborhoods ranging from 21% to more than 35%, we need to ensure current residents can afford to remain in their homes and benefit from the park. Generous philanthropic contributions to our Legacy Resident Retention Program enable us to cover property tax increases for long-time homeowners, our Home Empowerment Workshops help residents lower their housing costs, and Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. and its partners continue to create new affordable units along the BeltLine. 

These initiatives alone are not the full solution, and additional tools are needed. Affordable housing developers, non-profits, funders, and policy-makers can help ensure existing residents remain in these historic neighborhoods by focusing their efforts around Enota Park before it is constructed.

Jobs and Small Business: Enota Park will create new economic opportunities for local residents and businesses as BeltLine development continues to stimulate job growth. Neighbors can train for new jobs in construction and other industries through Westside Works, Construction Ready, and other BeltLine workforce partners.  Small businesses, including those participating in the BeltLine MarketPlace, will welcome additional customers as the future openings of Enota Park and Westside Trail Segment 4 connect and attract more people to the Westside to both visit and live in developments created with preservation in mind as envisioned in the updated Subarea 1 Master Plan.

Health and Wellness: The physical, mental, social, and environmental health benefits of parks are well documented, and Enota Park will provide lower-income residents with easy access to a high-quality green space (countering a national pattern of inequitably distributed parks).  There is an opportunity for partners to help advance positive outcomes by delivering programming at Enota Park to build on the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership’s free fitness classes.  With multiple schools proximate to Enota Park (including KIPP STRIVE across the street) and approximately 12% of the residents aged 65 and older in surrounding neighborhoods, multi-generational programs will be needed.

The momentum behind the BeltLine is stronger than it has ever been, yet there is still much more to be done. Building Enota Park in coordination with affordable housing, economic development, and health initiatives is the next opportunity to advance the BeltLine vision and equitable outcomes.

Want to join us to make this vision a reality? Contact Rob at rob@atlblp.org or call 404-446-4404 to find out more and how you can help.

 

 

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