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Atlanta gets served — sort of — over Underground street abandonment

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Downtown citizens lawyer up for a battle over some of Atlanta’s oldest streets

In downtown Atlanta, the battle over Alabama Street is turning into a showdown.
The battle over Alabama Street is turning into a showdown.
Library of Congress via Civil War Talk

Earlier this week, it was reported that the sale of Underground Atlanta to developer WRS didn’t go through as expected, following the last Peach Drop at the downtown site.

While little explanation was given, there were assumptions that it had something to do with citizen anger surrounding an Atlanta City Council deal that would turn over some of Atlanta’s oldest streets to the South Carolina developer.

Now, a letter to Mayor Kasim Reed and the city council has emerged, revealing that the Atlanta Downtown Neighborhood Association (ADNA) has lawyered up to fight the city’s decision, citing state law requiring public inspection and comment.

It’s not an unexpected move, as urban advocacy group Thread ATL threatened legal action recently if the decision was not reversed. Consternation stems from the lack of community input that went into the decision, as well as the privatization of public property in the heart of the city.

Of course, the five-page letter is filled with legalese, but the intent is clear: if the city does not reverse the abandonment of the streets by Jan. 10, they can expect a lawsuit seeking an injunction.

In an email to Curbed Atlanta, leaders from Thread ATL and ADNA spelled out their intentions:

“These demands are in no way seeking to prevent the sale nor redevelopment of the Underground. They simply seek to ensure local and state laws and procedures are followed. However, if these demands are not met, legal action will be pursued including the filing of a lawsuit to seek an injunction.”

Clearly, this is not the reaction the council was after.

Your move, City Hall.