The first Atlanta Beltline U class kicked off Feb. 7. They are set to graduate in May. CONTRIBUTED

Atlanta Beltline kicks off ‘university’

The inaugural class of Atlanta Beltline U had its first session on Feb. 7.

The goal is for graduates to have an in-depth program knowledge that they can then share with others in the community. BeltLine U will be facilitated by the staff of ABI and its project partners.

From the call last year for candidates, Atlanta BeltLine Inc. had nearly 200 applications for the inaugural “BeltLine U” class, a 4-month long civic university that will explore the history, vision, programmatic elements and implementation strategy of the Atlanta BeltLine.

A total of 36 applicants were selected: Sandy Washington, McKenzie McCart, Freddie Ramos, Jamie Olson, Wayne Gaskin, Jared Evans, LaMiiko Moore, Kacie Kerkhof, Laura Jurotich, Alice Chang, KB Yabuku, Christian Ross, Jonathan Arp, Sophia Prater, Cody Turner, Heather Infantry, Atiba Mbiwan, Christie Peters, LaVerne Carmichael, Joyce Lewis, Kathryn Aquino, Melvin Bridges Jr., Divad Miles, Grant Knox, Sandy Hoke, Kit Sutherland, Mark Blount, LisaTea Karesh, Bill Seay, Kyle Cunnion, Colin Wright, Matthew Merlino, Akia Lewis, Charles Berry, Paul Fialkowski and Latrice Jones-Byrd.

The inaugural BeltLine University class represents a diverse set of individuals from neighborhoods all around the Atlanta BeltLine, according to officials. Selected applicants vary in age, race, occupation, and longevity of residency near the Atlanta BeltLine. All selected participants are passionate about the project and wish to take an active role in its evolution.

“The variety of applicants to the inaugural class of BeltLine University speaks volumes about the deep diversity and interest in civic engagement in Atlanta BeltLine neighborhoods,” said Clyde Higgs, Interim CEO of ABI. “We hope that this first class will be a model for advocacy and empowerment at BeltLine U for years to come.”

The inaugural class was selected by a committee consisting of Megan Sparks (One Atlanta – the Mayor’s Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion), Lisa Tuttle (Fulton County Department of Arts & Culture), Rachel Sprecher (Atlanta Public Schools), David Jackson (Atlanta BeltLine Partnership), Beth McMillan (ABI), and Nonet Sykes (ABI).

Graduation will be held in May 2019.

Information: beltline.org/university.

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