High-profile accolades continue to rain down on Atlanta's largest redevelopment projects, and the latest trophy sounds like kind of a big deal. At a ceremony today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will bestow its "Overall Excellence Award for Smart Growth Achievement" to the Atlanta Beltline's Eastside Trail and Historic Fourth Ward Park. Winners of various EPA awards were chosen this year from a pool of 77 applicants in 31 states. Joining reps from across the country, Atlanta Mayor Kasim "My Streets Are Clear" Reed will be in Washington D.C. today to accept the honor. Just last week, Travel + Leisure magazine named a Beltline-connected project — Ponce City Market — a top new attraction in the whole wide world.
A press release outlines what the EPA accolade is all about, and why it carries weight: "(The) National Award for Smart Growth Achievement is given for creative, sustainable initiatives that help protect the health and the environment of our communities while also strengthening local economies. The Overall Excellence Award is the highest national honor bestowed by the EPA."
In the same release, Reed calls the national recognition for the Beltline "an affirmation of the investments we are making to create a more economically vibrant, prosperous and sustainable city."
For an outsider's perspective, here's what EPA Regional Administrator Heather McTeer Toney thinks: "The (Beltline) has become a national model for smart growth by turning what was once an abandoned rail corridor into a vibrant community space where healthy living is encouraged, culture is cultivated, the environment is better protected and economic development is taking place."
This talk of "national model" is a breath of fresh air, following the "national laughingstock" hullaballoo of last week.
· Atlanta BeltLine Receives National Award for Smart Growth Achievement [Website]
· Buckhead's Answer To Beltline Will Break Ground This Month [Curbed Atlanta]
· Big-Picture Talk About The Beltline Abounds [Curbed]
[ABOVE: Beltline photo: Curbed Atlanta]