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With Grant Money, 'Riverwalk Atlanta' Plan Leaps Forward

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Just west of Buckhead, a potential riverside park, large-scale reclamation project and citywide amenity has taken a significant step forward. The "Riverwalk Atlanta" project would be a 100-plus-acre park on the Chattahoochee River, with the derelict Hartsfield Incinerator site perched at the main entrance like a reminder of Atlanta's industrial past. What's more, the site could one day connect to the Atlanta Beltline.

On Friday, officials with the project announced The National Park Service Rivers Trails and Conservation Assistance group (phew!) has chosen Atlanta to receive Environmental Protection Agency Brownfields Program pilot funding and technical assistance to develop the project through Groundwork USA, a national network of non-profit programs. The incinerator site includes property along the river owned by Georgia Power, which has already granted a conservancy easement, officials said in a press release.

The project, which is in initial phases, was first pitched as the "Chattahoochee Riverway Project" in 1997 by the American Society of Landscape Architects. A group called Riverwalk Atlanta Inc. has been working to advance that vision since 2011. Plans include an amphitheater and activity area at the incinerator site, as well as the "Chattahoochee River Trail" first envisioned by the PATH Foundation in 1992. Officials said that trail would be the backbone of Riverwalk Atlanta and the connection between the Atlanta Beltline and Silver Comet Trail in Cobb County.

As for the money, the grant totals $275,000 over three years, including matching funds of $75,000 total from the city of Atlanta. The initial grant phase will cover an "intense feasibility study in historic northwest Atlanta" to plan for the development of a localized group called Groundwork Atlanta.

To that point, officials added: "The study will identify short- and long-term projects that integrate environmental education and job training while reclaiming derelict lands for parks and recreation. The funding also will provide for organization building, allowing Groundwork Atlanta to collaborate with stakeholders and attract funding for project implementation, management, design and construction, fundraising and support for maintenance."

The Hartsfield Incinerator's Potential Rebirth

[All photos/renderings via Riverwalk Atlanta Inc.]

· Riverwalk Atlanta [Website]
· History: Atlanta's "Upper West Side" [Website]