Atlanta BeltLine: Equitable development report amid concerns over citizen input
By David Pendered
The Atlanta BeltLine’s most dramatic influence on the city’s growth and decline appears in two areas of Northwest Atlanta. Since 2000, population has dropped by 16 percent south of the future Westside Park, and more than doubled west of Atlantic Station, according to an Oct. 14 report on equitable development along the BeltLine.
The report arrives as a citizen advisory committee established in the original BeltLine legislation is questioning whether its recommendations make any difference in the city’s development of the BeltLine.
The process calls for this committee’s recommendations to be delivered to the city and Invest Atlanta, the city’s development arm that in 2006 established Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. as a not-for-profit entity. The committee’s stated purpose is to: “monitor the effective and equitable implementation of the BeltLine Redevelopment Plan.”
At its July 14 meeting, the executive committee of the Tax Allocation District Advisory Committee was to take up an agenda that listed an item of “old business” as:
- “Develop a scorecard to track whether our recommendations are implemented, and if they are implemented, what their impact was. Use this information to assess ourselves for changes in TADAC structure or processes at next year’s annual meeting.”
There’s no record of further discussion of the topic. The matter is not listed on the agenda of TADAC’s July 28 board meeting. An agenda does not appear to be posted for the most recent entry on TADAC’s website, an Aug. 25 board meeting. Minutes of meetings do not appear to be posted.
The full report on the BeltLine’s Equitable Development Policy is slated for discussion at Wednesday’s meeting of Fulton County’s Board of Commissioners. Commissioner Lee Morris requested the discussion in his role as the commission’s only representative on the board that oversees Invest Atlanta. The Invest Atlanta board is chaired by Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.
The report is divided into six sections. Titles and highlights include:
- A recap of the policy, adopted in 2013;
- Internal operations, including “racial equity as a core competency in all job descriptions” and affirming compliance with the city’s 30 percent goal for participation of disadvantaged business enterprises;
- Job creation and support for BeltLine businesses;
- Stabilizing communities, to include land purchases, affordability goals and starting a tax fund for anti-displacement measures;
- Funding, with a $150-plus million goal, with $32.5 million raised;
- Next steps, including modifying the BeltLine TAD legislation.
The report includes demographic measurements on each of the 10 subareas in the BeltLine’s master plan. Categories include:
Proportion of Black or African American residents – highest west of the Mercedes Benz Stadium (92.4%) lowest around Piedmont Park (11.3%);
- Median household income – highest around Piedmont Park ($93,384); lowest west of the Mercedes Benz Stadium ($27,970);
- Median residential sales price – highest around Piedmont Park ($426,250); lowest west of the Mercedes Benz Stadium ($92,500);
- Population growth – greatest around Atlantic Station (127.3%);
- Population loss – greatest south of the future Westside Park and MARTA’s Bankhead Station (-15.8%)
- Proportion of residential owners paying more than 30% of income on housing – greatest west of Mercedes Benz Stadium (33.5%); lowest around Grant Park (18.5%);
- Proportion of renters paying more than 30% of income on housing – greatest west of Mercedes Benz Stadium (64.9%); lowest around Piedmont Park (32.2%).