At a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, July 11, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and the Atlanta BeltLine celebrated the official opening of the portion of the Eastside Trail connecting with Memorial Drive.
“It is a very exciting day that we have now connected Midtown all the way to Memorial Drive,” said Atlanta Beltline, Inc. CEO Clyde Higgs. "That is a big deal, a big, big deal. Please know that ABI does not advance the Beltline in a solo, or alone. It is truly with our partners that this is possible.”
“With this connectivity, it really is creating one community for us,” said Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. “As a native of Atlanta, I am very fortunate to see this transformation and to be a part of this transformation.”
She added: “To look at what’s happening in our city in just 10 short years is nothing short of amazing. It’s not happenstance—it’s because of great leaders, like our school board, it’s because of great partnerships with Fulton County, it’s because of leadership of our philanthropic partners and our corporate partners. And we recognize we are all a piece of a puzzle that’s creating this amazing city.”
“I want to thank the community,” said Councilmember Natalyn Archibong. “We’re standing in Council District 5 And I want to welcome constituents and friends, stakeholders, those who are in love with Atlanta as we all are sitting up here today. The journey continues. We are fixed to our course, and I am so grateful to all of you.”
The Atlanta BeltLine will ultimately connect 45 intown neighborhoods via a 22-mile loop of multi-use trails, modern streetcar, and parks, all based on railroad corridors that formerly encircled Atlanta. The Atlanta BeltLine also supports affordable workforce housing, economic development, job creation, public health, streetscapes, public art, environmental clean-up, and historic preservation, all with an eye towards sustainability.
As of 2019, the Atlanta BeltLine consists of five open trails and seven parks that welcome nearly 2 million visitors each year. More than $4.1 billion has been generated in private economic redevelopment. In May, the Atlanta BeltLine announced its largest budget for affordable housing at $11.9 million.