Is it a civic red flag when an Atlanta City Councilmember refers to a section of his district as a flat-out embarrassment? Probably so. But such is the opinion of Councilman H. Lamar Willis who, in an interview with Creative Loafing, voiced his disdain for the areas bordering Atlanta's main government buildings downtown. Willis and a colleague, Councilwoman Keisha Lance Bottoms, are pushing to form a task force that would re-imagine downtown Atlanta. A related study would cost $500,000, and would include a probe of Underground Atlanta's struggles, CL reports. Sounds like an honorable, if quixotic mission, but Willis says there is true momentum.
Willis and Bottoms' proposal would create a technical advisory group tasked with creating a master plan for downtown. The full council is scheduled to hear to the proposal tonight, after a resolution passed the community development and human resources committee last week. As CL points out, big plans are nothing new for downtown — remember the "Green Line" hoopla of 2007, or the glitzy casino renderings of 2009? But Willis says a disparate and powerful slate of 25 members — representing city and state governments, MARTA, neighborhood organizations and GSU — have agreed to participate this time.
Several key projects are being explored downtown and in surrounding neighborhoods, including a new Falcons stadium, massive multi-modal transportation hub and mixed-use projects around Turner Field. And starting this year, city officials have promised investments in cleanliness and public safety measures, focusing on the stretch of road that runs by Underground Atlanta between Five Points and the beginning of Peachtree Street. Could the stars be aligning to lift downtown to a more attractive state, or is it too far gone?
· City Councilmembers want downtown development task force [Creative Loafing]
· Does Underground Atlanta Stand a Chance? [Curbed Atlanta]