Now that the Atlanta Beltline owns the land needed to build out its Southside Trail, the 63-acre slice of former railroad property is showing signs of evolution.
The Beltline paid railroad giant CSX about $26 million for properties extending from University Avenue to Glenwood Avenue back in March.
Now, as officials finalize designs and work to find construction funding for the potentially $70 million stretch of new Beltline—ABI did not earn a $16 million federal grant to help build this part of the path—crews are uprooting railroad tracks, access points are being added, and the Southside Trail is being transformed into an interim hiking trail, Beltline leaders tell Curbed Atlanta.
Site work on the roughly four-mile leg, which will officially open as a hiking trail in the late spring or early summer, also entails repairing erosion issues and installing new railings on bridges.
The temporary project will cost less than $1 million, according to a Beltline spokesperson.
Blueprints shared at a community meeting Monday also show plans for transit and public art along the paved path-to-be, including sculptural retaining walls and “architectural groups of columnar trees.”
A pedestrian bridge could also snake through stormwater detention ponds on the side of the Beltline opposite D.H. Stanton Park.
In other Beltline news, progress on the second phase of the Eastside Trail extension is chugging along, despite December rain that stalled the project.
About 85 percent of the concrete for that piece of the path, connecting Kirkwood Avenue to Memorial Drive, has already been poured, and partial openings could begin soon, depending on the weather.
ABI is waiting on a Georgia Department of Transportation permit for work on Memorial Drive, which will include a pedestrian plaza where the trail meets the road, as well as improvements to crosswalks, traffic signals, and stormwater systems.
Further construction updates are expected at the next community meeting.
We’ve asked for an official opening date on another Beltline piece—the snaky connector between Edgewood and DeKalb avenues, which is dotted with new sculptures supplied by the Edge project—and will post details that come.