“We are committed to investing EPA brownfield funding within the city of Atlanta and keenly in those areas that have been underserved for years,” Dickens said.
Speaking Tuesday during the Georgia Brownfield Association’s meeting at the Atlanta law firm Morris, Manning & Martin, the mayor said for-profit and nonprofit developers cannot get bogged down with red tape as they work to turn community eyesores into assets. Dickens also said he wants to see more affordable housing and amenities in the city through this program.
The city is already working with Focus Community Strategies to redevelop a south Atlanta site. Using the brownfield funding, Dickens said that area will provide future affordable housing, retail and a restaurant.
The city is also planning to seek more EPA grant funding to redevelop the city-owned Chattahoochee Brick Company site. The plan is to transform it into a 75-acre park with a memorial to the prison inmates — mostly Black men — because they endured abuse working on the land through the state’s convict leasing program.
“This is not a new idea,” said Groundwork Atlanta Executive Director Heather Hussey-Coker. “This is something the community has been interested in and been rallying around for quite a long time, the idea of having public access to this major environmental system, our river.”
Atlanta City Planning Department Assistant Director Jessica Lavandier said the city has five years to use its new RLF grant. She urged people to visit AtlantaGA.gov/brownfields to learn how they can participate.
“It’s a really easy program,” Lavandier said.