By Rob Brawner, Executive Director of Atlanta BeltLine Partnership
The past year has been exciting for Atlanta’s parks and trails.
- Two transformational greenspaces – Westside Park and Rodney Cook Sr. Park in Historic Vine City – opened on Atlanta’s Westside.
- Multiple new paved trails are being enjoyed by the public, including the Westside BeltLine Connector, initial segments of the Atlanta BeltLine Southside and Northeast Trails, and the final segment of PATH’s Chastain Park trail network.
- Atlanta City Council approved the ActivateATL parks master plan, and Mayor Dickens appointed a Green Cabinet of leading environmental advocates, including the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership, to help the City remain accountable in implementing it.
- Catalyzed by last year’s passage of the Special Service District, a historic contribution from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, and federal grant awards, more than $300 million has been secured towards the $350 million needed to complete the full 22-mile mainline BeltLine trail corridor by 2030.
During the primary election on Tuesday, May 24, Atlanta voters can continue to advance the vision for a greener, safer, more connected city by approving three ballot measures that will provide $750 million for greatly needed improvements to streets, sidewalks, parks, recreation centers, and public safety facilities.
These referenda are one of the best options to quickly generate funds to upgrade parks and trails, provide safety for residents, and address needed repairs and maintenance. They will help build greater connectivity to the BeltLine via PATH’s network of multi-use trails and improve and expand green space, putting more Atlantans within a 10-minute walk of a park.
The comprehensive project list adopted by Atlanta City Council reflects equitable investment throughout the city and includes important park and trail projects in BeltLine communities:
- Nearly $40 million to improve parks and recreation centers within walking distance of the BeltLine, including Grove Park, the Outdoor Activity Center, Chosewood Park, and Maddox Park
- Multiple trail connections and sidewalk improvements to create safe BeltLine access for Southwest and Southeast communities
- More than $1.8 million to work alongside philanthropic investments to expand Enota Park on the Westside Trail
- Substantial investments in maintenance facilities
There are three distinct questions on the ballot to move Atlanta forward. A renewal of the five-year, fraction-of-a-penny sales tax TSPLOST is expected to raise $350 million, and two separate general obligation bonds will provide an additional $400 million. Current projections call for more than $3 billion of necessary infrastructure investment over the next 20 years. A yes vote now on all three questions will keep our city on track to meet this need.
You can help secure the success of the funding requests. Be sure to vote and share the information with your family and friends. The election is Tuesday, May 24, and early voting begins on Monday, May 2. The last day to register to vote is April 24, 2022.