While not a Friday night, there should be plenty of feeling alright at an upcoming party on the Westside. Next Wednesday, the Beltline will mark an important milestone as ground breaks on the long awaited three-mile trail connecting Washington Park and Adair Park in southwest Atlanta. Thanks to a TIGER V grant awarded in September last year, the Westside Trail will begin to take shape along former rail lines stretching through Capitol View, Oakland City, Westview, Mozley Park and Just Us. (So it won't be just them for long). Never an exercise in expeditiousness, the trail is expected to take at least two years to be completed. The end result, in the long run, will probably be worth the wait. Although some residents, as reported in a Creative Loafing piece this week, are a little less than thrilled. They fear the trail will spell skyrocketing rents, widespread displacement and a general loss of neighborhood history.
When completed, the 14-foot-wide concrete trail will provide access to more than 30 acres of new usable green space, connecting 10 neighborhoods, four schools and four existing parks. With 14 access points and space for a planned transit corridor, the trail is an integral part of the entire Beltline network, officials say. The segment is being developed simultaneously with the adjacent five-acre Atlanta Beltline Urban Farm which will provide produce for neighborhood residents. The three miles will represent the single largest chunk of the Beltline, and will almost double the length of completed trails — combined, the Northside and Eastside trails account for just over 3.25 miles.
The Wednesday festivities start at 10:30 a.m. on the trailhead at Allene Avenue. Attendees are encouraged to walk, bike or take MARTA to see Mayor Kasim Reed and other fancy folks get things rolling. No word yet on when actual construction will begin.
— Michael Kahn
[Images via beltline.org and Curbed Atlanta archives.]
· Westside Trail Groundbreaking Ceremony [beltline.org]
· Atlanta BeltLine Meets Critical Milestone With Groundbreaking of Westside Trail [beltline.org]