A kudzu-covered stretch of old CSX rail lines is set to become a key piece of the Atlanta BeltLine’s Westside expansion.
The City of Atlanta and the BeltLine announced Monday that they had purchased 1.8 miles of land from the train giant using $6.3 million from the 2016 transportation special purpose local option sales tax.
The track lines have been dubbed “the Kudzu Line” by the city.
Once cleared and built up, the trail will provide access to the Bankhead MARTA station — the Green Line’s western terminus — and Maddox Park.
It will give access to the proposed $26.5 million Westside Park at Bellwood Quarry and Proctor Creek Greenway.
“This small but crucial section of corridor will have a direct impact on connectivity for the west side of Atlanta,” Brian P. McGowan, president of the BeltLine, said in the news release. “Accessibility is core to building an equitable and inclusive Atlanta.”
The purchase covers about 80 percent of the land needed to connect it to the BeltLine, the city said. The other 20 percent on the north/northwest side of the loop is active railroad or non-railroad properties.
Atlanta’s press release, sent out at the end of the day Monday, gave no pricetag for that 20 percent, nor how much construction is expected to cost.
The federal government reported that CSX intended to abandon the land in late June. That same day the BeltLine filed a request with federal officials to use the land as a trail.
READ | Kudzu is edible. Why aren’t we eating it?
Speaking of ... | Cobb rail, trail advocates await CSX lease renewal
CSX will be removing the rails during the next six months, according to the city. The BeltLine will “evaluate next steps regarding converting the corridor to an interim trail.” Until it is declared safe, the land is closed to the public.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported the possibility of the Kudzu Line sale in April. At the time, the BeltLine’s creator Ryan Gravel said the land was needed if rail lines were ever to stretch across the Chattahoochee River and into Cobb County.
“It seems like we would use this land for a higher purpose,” Gravel said in April. He added: “The fact that it connects the Beltline to the (Chattahoochee) river practically is pretty amazing.”
There was no mention of that in the press release.
Like Intown Atlanta News Now on Facebook | Follow us on Twitter
Mayor Kasim Reed showed renderings of what Westside Park at Bellwood Quarry could look like. First phase: Gateway entrance with lighting, signage and graphics on the north side. The restoration includes resurfacing the road and improving the greenway along the corridor. The park will also have trails and a pedestrian connection to and from Proctor Creek Greenway. The site will become a 2-billion-gallon water reservoir. At 280 acres, Westside Park will be larger than Piedmont Park (185 acres).