Atlanta’s ‘Stitch’ and Beltline projects win new federal funding

Two landmark Atlanta infrastructure projects are getting a shot in the arm from a U.S. Department of Transportation grant.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in an interview Monday that $900,000 in grant funding would advance the “Stitch” project, which aims to put a massive park over parts of the Downtown Connector.

An additional $16.4 million will finance an expansion of the Atlanta Beltline to construct about 2 miles of the Southside Trail that will stretch from Pittsburgh Yards to Boulevard Crossing Park.

They were among roughly $1 billion in discretionary grants that the department distributes each year. Projects worth about $10 billion jockeyed for Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity grants in a highly competitive process.

“When there’s a vision coming from the community about how to reconnect and create new usable land and greenspace, that’s something we want to accelerate,” Buttigieg said of the projects, which were promoted by U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams and U.S. Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock.

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

The Stitch proposal has been discussed for more than a decade 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 atop the I-75/I-85, from the Civic Center MARTA station to beyond Piedmont Avenue.

Buttigieg said the funding, which would finance planning studies, helps advance several of the Biden administration’s priorities.

“It makes sure we meet the federal government’s priority to reconnect areas that have been divided by past transportation decisions,” Buttigieg said. “Interstates are supposed to connect, but sometimes they divide as well.”

The Beltline infusion will finance a 14-foot-wide concrete trail, new security cameras, stormwater infrastructure, bridge repairs, and landscaping. The project also includes two major bridge renovations, six vertical connections and two at-grade crossings.

“It’s a great way to make use of old right of way,” Buttigieg said. “And it takes into account all the things that matter for the future.”