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Caring Reader: Don't Give Up On Underground Atlanta

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An unsigned but clearly heartfelt letter to the Curbed Atlanta tip-line is calling for the city to rally around Underground Atlanta and realize its potential to become ... something. For those of us who've known Underground only as a knick-knack emporium and panhandler's paradise, a comment like this one from the writer is difficult to fathom: "It's hard to believe that it was not that long ago that (Underground Atlanta) was the jewel of our city." The beleaguered district's best bet for a quick turnaround — the casino — was shot down by a God-fearing governor, in a roundabout way, and Mayor Kasim Reed has been a vocal opponent to those plans, too. There's been talk of transforming Underground into an arts district, and Reed himself has mentioned trying to pull off a deal to lure anchor retail businesses there, but that was a year and a half ago. So for now, Underground is what it is. Which is what makes commentary like this so refreshing, even when it's unrealistic ...

Dear Curbed:

I don't know about every one else, but I wouldn't give up so quickly on Underground Atlanta.

Like most of the ATL, and as a native of my city, I'm almost speechless of the near demise of it. It is incredibly boring and uninspiring. It's hard to believe that it was not that long ago that UA was the jewel of our city ... something that I felt proud to show to my out of town family and friends. Now, I'm so embarrassed by it ? it's not funny.

I'm not sure if it would work, but ? I think MARTA, the city of Atlanta and the management of UA should get together and come of with a reasonable plan to revitalize UA. I would start with Downtown ATL (not the side where Centennial Park is located). Make the owners (or whoever owns the buildings) revitalize their properties and if they can't, if possible, tear them down and to make them into some lofts, nice condos or apartments, or make them into nice restaurants and shops. A person on another blog also suggested ? to make and enforce anti-loitering laws. Maybe UA would exist today if it weren't for loiterers creating the death of it.

Maybe if Downtown ATL is revitalized, it may spread to UA. Some people suggested making it into an Arts District (That would be so cool! love it). In case not, I would still make it a mix of a mall/tourist attraction ? but just better. I would add a Target, Kohls, TJ Maxx or some other recognizable, respectable retail store, (or) restaurants, a Game Stop, a movie theater, a Publix, a museum about UA and a novelty? something like the shopping district on Ponce or Brookhaven.

I don't know about everybody else, but I would love to go somewhere where I can eat, shop (for clothes and groceries) or take in a good movie. It also wouldn't hurt to have a beautiful park to chill in until my bus come. That's the UA I would like to go to.

— Anonymous

· Does Underground Atlanta Stand a Chance? [Curbed Atlanta]

Underground Atlanta

50 Upper Alabama Street, , GA 30303 Visit Website