Atlanta could seek $1M grant to plan project to cap Downtown Connector

A nighttime rendering of The Stitch concept that would connect parts of downtown via a “deck park.” Rendering by Jacobs/via Atlanta Downtown Improvement District

A nighttime rendering of The Stitch concept that would connect parts of downtown via a “deck park.” Rendering by Jacobs/via Atlanta Downtown Improvement District

The city of Atlanta may apply for a $1 million federal grant that would be used to study the proposal to put a park over parts of the Downtown Connector.

The ambitious “Stitch” project has been discussed for years as a way to connect parts of Atlanta through a “park deck” spanning 14 acres. The greenspace would run for three quarters of a mile on top of the I-75/I-85 Connector, from the Civic Center MARTA station on West Peachtree Street to past Piedmont Avenue.

The Atlanta City Council on Tuesday gave the green light for the city to apply for the grant in partnership with the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District, which is working with Central Atlanta Progress on the Stitch project.

The federal funds would be used for advanced planning on the project, including street and park design and sustainability elements. According to the ADID website, the group is in the process of testing the feasibility of the plan and coming up with an implementation strategy. The total cost of the project is estimated to be between $300 million and $450 million. Detailed financing plans have not been released.

The grant would come from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s 2021 RAISE discretionary grant fund.

Earlier this year, U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams submitted a request for $1.2 million in federal funds to support The Stitch proposal.

There’s also a proposal for a similar park deck over the interstate in Midtown, just north of where The Stitch would be. The Midtown Connector Transportation Improvement Project would create 25 acres of community greenspace, and could cost $800 million to $1.2 billion.

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