Studies underway for downtown Atlanta deck park over the Connector

The business coalition behind a proposed park over the Downtown Connector said studies to determine the feasibility of the ambitious project are progressing.

A.J. Robinson, president and CEO of Central Atlanta Progress, said Thursday the studies include pre-engineering work to determine costs for "The Stitch," and an analysis of potential public and private funding sources. The Stitch is a "deck park" that would cover about 14 acres of the freeway and recreate a grid of streets long severed by the Connector's construction decades ago.

The proposed park would re-establish links between Midtown and downtown opening up underused land for private-sector development.

“We need to determine if there are any fatal flaws in what we’re trying to do,” he said, calling the Stitch “an engineering marvel.”

Increased property taxes from new development would be one potential benefit from the project. A 2016 report estimated the project could stimulate $1.1 billion in redevelopment and property value growth, and significantly boost tax revenue.

The Stitch would essentially cap three-quarters of a mile of I-75/I-85 from Spring Street to the area near Georgia Power’s headquarters.

The plan is modeled after other “deck parks” such as the 5.2-acre Klyde Warren Park in Dallas, but this concept is much larger and would present greater opportunities for high-density development. The estimated price tag for the Stitch is more than $300 million for the parks and streets alone, or three times the Dallas project.

A similar deck park concept is planned near the Buckhead MARTA station over Ga. 400.

Robinson said the Stitch would join other ambitious projects also underway downtown, including redevelopment of south downtown, Underground Atlanta, the railroad Gulch near CNN Center and Philips Arena and the Summerhill neighborhood surrounding Georgia State Stadium.

On Thursday, CAP also honored former Mayor Shirley Franklin with the Dan Sweat Award, an honor in name of the former CAP president that acknowledges leadership and public service.

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