Mayor Kasim Reed Celebrates Opening of Atlanta BeltLine Westside Trail
Monday, October 2nd, 2017
Mayor Kasim Reed announced that the Westside Trail, a new three-mile corridor on the Atlanta BeltLine, is now open and available for everyone to enjoy. During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Mayor Reed joined Atlanta BeltLine Inc. President and CEO Brian McGowan, Atlanta BeltLine Partnership Executive Director Rob Brawner, Cox Enterprises Executive Vice President and CFO Dallas Clement, Kaiser Permanente Georgia President Jim Simpson, Georgia Department of Transportation board member Stacey Key, Atlanta Public School students Maya Hadley and Markail Brooks and community members to celebrate the $43 million investment. The investment brings the Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. closer to its goal of connecting every community in the City of Atlanta.
Running from Washington Park to Adair Park in Southwest Atlanta, the new 14-foot wide multi-use trail features 14 access points, public art and greenway. Of the 14 access points, 11 entrances are ADA accessible – representing more accessibility than any other trail in the city. For a half mile along White Street, the trail will use the existing West End Trail.
“Today is a good day in the City of Atlanta as we celebrate a promise kept with the opening of the new Westside Trail,” said Mayor Kasim Reed. “My Administration was committed to working with the Atlanta BeltLine and other partners to make this shared public space available in Southwest Atlanta, connecting some of the city’s most important and historic neighborhoods in a new way while honoring them with such a valuable and significant investment.”
The Westside Trail is the largest expansion of the Atlanta BeltLine since its inception. The amenity connects four schools, four parks and a dozen Westside neighborhoods. The trail will also feature murals, sculptures and other artwork.
“We are proud to celebrate this significant milestone in the Atlanta BeltLine’s history – the opening of the Westside Trail,” said Brian McGowan. “This trail will have a transformative effect on the city and will foster new jobs, promote business creation and ensure livable communities in Southwest Atlanta. As we continue to build upon this amenity, we are 100 percent committed to working with the community to identify the unique needs that must be built in our planning as much as our concrete trails are.”
Following the trail’s groundbreaking ceremony in November 2014, construction commenced to create the BeltLine addition, and more than 20 community engagement events have been held to ensure public input was incorporated in the project. The trail will also eventually connect hundreds of thousands of Atlanta residents to transit and transportation alternatives.
Thanks to the passage of a $2.6 billion expansion of MARTA by Atlanta voters in November 2016, funding is now available to purchase the remaining land needed to complete the Atlanta BeltLine and to build out a complete transit network – a key element of the Atlanta BeltLine vision.
In 2013, the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded the City of Atlanta an $18 million TIGER V grant to help fund construction of the Westside Trail. The Atlanta BeltLine Partnership contributed $10 million in philanthropic funding with lead gifts from The James M. Cox Foundation/PATH Foundation and Kaiser Permanente. The Georgia Department of Transportation enabled the purchase of the land via a $9.5 million local match. Remaining funding was provided by the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Transportation Improvement Plan, and TAD partners at the City of Atlanta, Atlanta Public Schools and Fulton County.
“The Atlanta BeltLine Partnership is extremely grateful for the many donors who helped make the Westside Trail possible,” said Rob Brawner, Executive Director of the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership. “We look forward to promoting a healthier Atlanta through our programming along the trail and in surrounding communities.”