A fence put up for the construction of the Grant Park Gateway parking garage blocks access to part of the sidewalk bordering the park.
Photo: BECCA GODWIN / BECCA GODWIN@AJC.COM
Photo: BECCA GODWIN / BECCA GODWIN@AJC.COM

Atlanta councilwoman rails against Grant Park fence

Atlanta City Councilwoman Carla Smith released a statement this week condemning the handling of a fence that was installed along Boulevard last week.

The fence, put up for the construction of the Grant Park Gateway parking garage, blocks access to part of the sidewalk bordering the park. It also closes off a large parking lot used for visitors to Grant Park and Zoo Atlanta until 2019. 

The installation took residents by surprise, and they weren’t the only ones.

Smith, who represents the District 1 neighborhood, said she had “no idea” a fence would be placed this early in the process.

“This fence fails all of us in its disregard for the people, including school kids, who use the Boulevard sidewalk and in its failure to include any information or visuals,” she said in the Tuesday news release. “I am deeply disappointed in the city's parks department and the construction company over the rollout of this fence.”

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Smith has asked that the fence be moved to allow full use of the Boulevard sidewalk until later in construction.

At Monday’s City Council meeting, Smith got approval for changes to be made around the park “because of the way the fence roll out happened,” the statement said. Improvements are to include a traffic light at the Boulevard and Ormewood Avenue and a replaced gate across the Berne Street and Park Avenue park entrance.

Renderings of the proposed project will also be placed at targeted locations along the fence, she said. 

The city “can and will do a better job of keeping residents informed,” Smith said. 

The fence was installed before a final decision could be made about whether Atlanta officials can cut down 131 trees to make way for the garage. A hearing for the most recent appeal is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Sept. 27 at City Hall. 

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The city is investing $48 million into a new parking garage, but some residents say it could cause problems, including crime.

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