On this very month five years ago, the Atlanta Beltline Eastside Trail held its official dedication, unveiling 2.25 miles of freshly paved trail that would be a harbinger for unprecedented change throughout the city.
Within weeks of that 2012 milestone, the Beltline would receive a $3 million Woodruff Foundation grant to extend the Eastside Trail southward through Cabbagetown and then Reynoldstown—and hopes for more Beltline soared.
But soon after that, the bridge at Edgewood Avenue was discovered to be insufficient and degraded, and a funding spat between the Beltline (and City of Atlanta) and the public school system became high-profile news.
So, for years, the only thing that extended was estimated construction timelines.
That all officially becomes history at 10 a.m. Friday, when Beltline officials and city dignitaries including Mayor Kasim Reed are expected to gather near Kirkwood Avenue in Reynoldstown for a ribbon-cutting.
The ceremony, dubbed “Marking a Mile,” will celebrate the completion of the Eastside Trail’s first southern-extension phase, which snakes for a mile from Irwin Street to its temporary terminus at Kirkwood Avenue.
This phase, which broke ground in summer 2016, includes sensor lights and seven cameras that are integrated into the Atlanta Police Department’s video system.
“This segment signifies a joining of the Atlanta Beltline loop between two disconnected railroads,” officials noted in a ceremony announcement. “It is a critical piece to realizing the vision of a full Atlanta Beltline loop.”
Beyond the Woodruff Foundation grant, funding for this eastside piece came from the Beltline Tax Allocation District, The Kendeda Fund, and Waterfall Foundation, officials said.
Here’s a quick glimpse, in photos and renderings, of where this magnificent (if temporarily noncontiguous) mile has come and what the future could hold: