Jan 4, 2022 - News

Atlanta BeltLine gets funding to keep project on schedule

Users along the Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail.
Atlanta BeltLine Inc. recently announced it has more than $300 million of the $350 million needed to complete the trail project by the end of 2030. Photo courtesy of The Sintoses

Atlanta BeltLine Inc. has long dreamed of completing the planned 22-mile loop around the city by the end of the decade, and a recent fundraising milestone appears likely to help that vision become a reality.

The organization recently announced it has more than $300 million of the $350 million needed to complete the trail project by 2030.

Why it matters: Completing the BeltLine will give Atlanta residents a more environmentally friendly way to get around the city. For example, people will be able to ride a bike from Piedmont Park in Midtown to Washington Park on the west side of the city, CEO Clyde Higgs told Axios.

  • “This is absolutely game-changing for the BeltLine and our trajectory in getting the trail elements of the project completed by 2030,” he said. “This is the first time ever we have line of sight to be able to complete the 22-mile loop of the Atlanta BeltLine.”

Details: In addition to the $100 million generated from the BeltLine’s existing tax allocation district, local, federal and private donations helped push the organization past the $300 million mark.

  • $100 million was generated from revenue collected within the BeltLine Special Service District. The district imposes an additional tax on certain property owners to fund future trail construction.
  • The Robert W. Woodruff Foundation forked over an additional $80 million.
  • In November, Atlanta received a $16.5 million federal grant toward completion of the Southside Trail, which brought the total federal funding to about $29 million.

Jenny Odom, spokesperson for Atlanta BeltLine Inc., said it will continue to pursue funding from local, federal and philanthropic sources to close the remaining gap.

By the numbers: More than 2 million people use the BeltLine each year, but Higgs said the group is working on new technology that can accurately track usage.

What’s next? Now that it’s secured most of its funding, Higgs said, the BeltLine can begin work on multiple segments around the city, specifically ones in the northwest, south side, northeast and west side of Atlanta.

Constructing the Southside Trail is the “Holy Grail” of the BeltLine because it reaches neighborhoods that have historically been overlooked for community and infrastructure improvement projects.

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