Project list of $250 million for roads, facilities up for debate by Atlanta City Council

By David Pendered

Atlanta’s recently approved $250 million bond referendum is to provide each of the city’s 12 council districts with $5.6 million to upgrade transportation and public facilities, according to a draft list the Atlanta City Council is slated to consider Monday.

Fire Station 19

Atlanta’s Fire Station 19 is to be repaired, not replaced, with proceeds from the city’s $250 million bond referendum. The building is nearly 60 years past its life cycle, but beloved by its community. Credit: vahi.org

In each district, the sum is to provide $4.1 million in “transportation projects” and $1.5 million in “facility projects.” These local projects account for about $67.2 million of the entire bond package.

A separate package of improvements is identified as “Citywide Projects.” This category represents the remaining $182.8 million of upgrades voters approved in the March 17 bond referendum.

Projected construction costs for each project are not provided in the legislation the council is to consider Monday, nor does it appear to be available on the city’s website. The draft list of projects the council is to consider does provide this statement: “Actual implementation of any and/or all projects is dependent on actual costs incurred during design and construction activities.”

It’s unclear if the council is likely to vote to approve the draft project list at its meeting Monday. The list is presented in the form of a resolution. The resolution is not placed in the section of the agenda where the council routinely approves multiple pieces of legislation that are not expected to elicit debate.

The council has yet to vote on packaging and selling the bonds. Moody’s Investors Service has yet to rate the bonds, as it likely will do once the city reaches that point in the process. Atlanta CFO James Beard has said the bonds likely will be sold in early 2016.

The draft list doesn’t provide much information.

Nelson Street pedestrian bridge

The Nelson Street pedestrian bridge is to be upgraded with proceeds of the city’s $250 million bond referendum. The 1924 bridge was featured in season one of the TV series, “Walking Dead.” Credit: cnn.com

For example, the list of bridge improvements listed as, “Citywide Projects,” cites only the following information:

  • Bankhead Avenue;
  • Childress Drive;
  • Citywide Bridge Improvements;
  • Courtland Street;
  • Martin L. King, Jr. Drive;
  • Nelson Street – pedestrian;
  • Powers Ferry Road.

A bit more information on each of these projects can be gleaned from the webpage the city established before the referendum in order to educate voters about the proposed upgrades. The 2015 Infrastructure Project List on a RENEW ATLANTA page provides the following details:

  • Bankhead Avenue – Removal of abandoned bridge structure over Southern Railroad between Marietta Street & Northside Drive;
  • Childress Drive – Replacement of bridge over South Utoy Creek between Key Drive & Cascade Road;
  • Citywide Bridge Improvements – Bridge and structural improvements including construction of new structures and/or structural component modifications;
  • Courtland Street – Replacement of 106+ year old bridge over Decatur Street and CSX Railroad between Martin L. King, Jr. Drive and Edgewood Avenue. The city of Atlanta is responsible for right of way acquisition and utility relocation. Construction is being funding through GDOT [Georgia Department of Transportation];
  • Martin L. King, Jr. Drive – Replacement of 50+ year old bridge over surface parking between Centennial Park Bridge to Spring Street;
  • Nelson Street – pedestrian –Retro-fit of 95+ year old bridge over Southern Railroad between Elliot Street & Spring Street for pedestrian use only;
  • Powers Ferry Road – Replacement of 105 year old bridge over Nancy Creek between Pineland Road & Hillside Drive.

The resolution was sponsored by the council’s Finance Committee, rather than by one or more councilmembers.

 

 

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow. David was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina and is married to a fifth-generation Atlantan.

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