The good news: Buckhead’s quest to create one of America’s great urban spaces from dead air above Ga. Highway 400 is still very much alive and is reaching new milestones.
The bad: Atlantans have to wait until next week for the 411.
Reps for the Buckhead Community Improvement District tell Curbed Atlanta the group’s monthly meeting Wednesday morning will be momentous—and possibly a cause for celebration among Atlanta urbanists.
Expected to emerge at the public meeting: a timeline for the park that sounds more concrete than ever, with details on funding, engineering, environmental work, design, “groundmaking,” and even the ribbon-cutting.
The BCID is also expected to unveil new park renderings and a “360 virtual reality video” that could bring the concept to life like never before, officials said.
The “Park over GA 400” concept joins a host of potentially game-changing proposals across Atlanta—The Gulch redevelopment, the Beltline’s Northeast Trail, Pullman Yard’s adaptive-reuse overhaul, and downtown’s own highway-capping greenspace, among other ideas—that could help forge a more livable city in coming years.
But in the glacial world of urban planning, Buckhead’s park idea has been on a relative roll since it was first floated two years ago.
The results of a Phase II study (producing the first renderings) emerged months after the park’s announcement, and a Request for Proposals was issued within the next year. Soon, design firm Rogers Partners was authorized by the BCID to proceed with a study, costing at max $365,000, that would examine funding mechanisms (private funds, sales tax allocation, and even MARTA coffers have reportedly been considered).
Earlier studies have shown the park is technically possible, and that it would have a negligible impact on traffic and parking in the neighborhood.
Previous estimates put the park’s cost at more than $200 million, which stirred grumbles among some BCID board members in meetings earlier this year.
The last timeline floated tentatively put construction starting in 2020 and the ribbon-cutting at a completed park by 2023. Here’s hoping next week’s announcements predict the process will be expedited.