Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens and other local officials came together Saturday to celebrate the city’s purchase of a 75-acre swath of land that was once home to a brick company that utilized horrific convict labor practices.
The weekend’s ceremony also recognized the historical atrocities that occurred at the Chattahoochee Brick site and heralded the future use of the land as a public park and memorial. The city envisions it as its first-ever park with direct access to the Chattahoochee River.
The city paid $27 million to buy the land from Lincoln Energy Solutions, a South Carolina-based company had previously planned to lease the land to rail giant Norfolk Southern to build a fuel terminal there. (The Kendeda Fund contributed $4 million for the purchase.)
Atlanta City Council last week unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the administration to apply for a $10.5 million federal grant to support engineering for the city’s ambitious “stitch” project.
The Stitch is a proposal for three-quarter miles of greenspace on top of the I-75/I-85 Downtown Atlanta Connector, from the Civic Center MARTA station on West Peachtree Street to past Piedmont Avenue. This would create a 14-acre “park deck” in the heart of the city.
U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock said in a statement that the stitch would reconnect divided communities and promote new equitable-development through affordable housing and transportation.
If awarded, the federal $10.5 million would match the $10 million allocation from the city and the $500,000 investment from the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District (ADID), according to City Hall.
The bill now goes to the mayor’s desk for final approval. It will then be up to the administration and ADID to submit the application to the U.S. Department of Transportation by its Oct. 13th deadline.
It’s committee week for the City Council, meaning newly introduced legislation will have hearings.
Some measures we’re watching: An ordinance to require City Council approval of any changes to the existing boundaries of the neighborhood planning units. Plus, a resolution to publicly denounce the proposed reconfiguration of NPU boundaries in southwest Atlanta submitted by the Department of City Planning, and to request the chief operating officer to halt any proposed reconfigurations.
We’re also keeping our eyes on an ordinance authorizing the mayor to accept $16.4 million from the federal Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (“RAISE”) grant program.
Send us tips and feedback at Wilborn.Nobles@ajc.com and Joseph.Capelouto@ajc.com.
WILBORN NOBLES III
Wilborn P. Nobles III covers the Atlanta mayor's policies for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Wil (not "Willie" or "William") previously covered Baltimore County government at The Baltimore Sun, but he never finished "The Wire." He also covered education for the Times-Picayune in his hometown of New Orleans, so he tries to avoid discussions about football. Wil used to play tuba for his high school marching band, but he eventually put down his horn to intern at The Washington Post. The Louisiana State University graduate enjoys gardening, comedy, and music.
J.D. Capelouto is a local news reporter covering City Hall and all things intown Atlanta for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. His work focuses the City Council, neighborhood issues, public safety, housing and transportation. J.D. was born and raised in Atlanta and has lived in the city all his life, except for four years at Boston University, where he studied journalism and learned how to dress for cold weather. He’s been with the AJC since 2018, and has previously written for The Boston Globe and the Thomson Reuters Foundation. When he’s not reporting or scrolling through Twitter, J.D. enjoys pop culture podcasts, “Survivor” and visiting various pools around Atlanta.