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Where Beltline meets Bellwood Quarry, bid process opens for Atlanta’s biggest park

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Developers have a few weeks to throw hats in ring to build Westside Reservoir Park

The Westside Reservoir site’s proximity to Atlanta’s core, from a drone’s perspective.
The site’s proximity to Atlanta’s core, from a drone’s perspective.
Craig Levine/YouTube

An encouraging sign for proponents of magnificent, Beltline-connected greenspaces came this week when Atlanta leaders issued a call for builders of what’s planned to become the city’s largest park.

Atlanta’s Department of Procurement issued a request for proposals this week for teams interested in designing and developing Westside Reservoir Park at Bellwood Quarry, a massive space adjacent to an unbuilt Beltline section, the AJC reports.

At nearly 300 acres, the greenspace would be Atlanta’s largest—about 30 percent bigger than Piedmont Park—and the potential crown jewel of the Beltline’s emerald loop. About a mile west of Midtown, the site is best known for a massive crater famously used as a backdrop for Hunger Games and The Walking Dead productions.

It sounds like plans to push the park idea forward are moving fast.

On Aug. 7, a pre-proposal conference (with a “virtual site tour”) is scheduled for interested developers at Atlanta City Hall, the newspaper reports.

All bids are due a month later—by 2 p.m. on Sept. 7.

Per a Beltline Master Plan vision adopted by the city eight years ago, the quarry would morph into a new lake, surrounded by a collection of meadows, hiking and biking trails, and some active uses such as a skate park, outdoor theater, and baseball fields.

Images: Atlanta Beltline Inc.

The reservoir, officials have said, would store a crucial backup supply of more than 2 billion gallons of drinking water, enough for a 30-day supply should Armageddon befall Atlanta. (The current reserve supply is just, gulp, three days).

In order to fill the quarry, work launched last year to bore a five-mile tunnel to the Chattahoochee River via a machine named “Driller Mike,” in homage to the Atlanta rapper.

At last check, the 10-foot-diameter tunnel was supposed to be finished by the end of this year. Once the reservoir is filled, officials have said the focus will turn toward making the surrounding park a reality.

A rough Master Plan sketch of potential uses.