The City of Atlanta and Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. (ABI) have closed on 1.8 miles of former railroad corridor on the Westside, a stretch of track informally known as “the Kudzu Line.” The purchase provides land for the mainline corridor, in addition to creating points of contact for potential spur trails that would connect the neighborhoods of Bankhead, English Avenue, Knight Park, and Howell Station.
This key piece of the Atlanta BeltLine loop will also allow for access to the Bankhead MARTA station, Maddox Park, the future Westside Park at Bellwood Quarry, as well as a future link to the newly-opened Proctor Creek Greenway.
“With each land acquisition, the Atlanta Beltline moves closer to fulfilling its promise to connect and unify the city’s many diverse neighborhoods,” Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said in a statement.
The $6.3 million purchase was entirely funded by TSPLOST, funds approved by City of Atlanta voters in 2016 for special local transportation projects. The transaction gives ABI and the City of Atlanta control of approximately 80 percent of the corridor needed to construct the Atlanta BeltLine trail and transit loop. The remaining 20 percent, on the north/northwest side of the loop, is active railroad and non-railroad properties.
“Today, we are one step further to connecting communities through the Atlanta BeltLine,” said Councilmember Ivory Lee Young of District 3. “This is a great day for our residents. I look forward to working with Mayor Bottoms and the Atlanta BeltLine to develop this piece of the westside corridor and bring more amenities to the Westside.”
“This small but crucial section of corridor will have a direct impact on connectivity for the west side of Atlanta.” said Brian P. McGowan, President and CEO of ABI. “Accessibility is core to building an equitable and inclusive Atlanta. This is one more step in the right direction.”
“CSX is excited to work with Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. to finalize yet another property transaction that advances ABI’s vision,” said CSX Regional Vice President of State Relations Craig Camuso. “After working earlier this year to secure the sale of a critical piece of railroad corridor for the Southside Trail, CSX and ABI continue to build momentum for this project, which will enhance connectivity among Atlanta’s neighborhoods and spur sustainable economic growth.”
Over the next six months, CSX will be removing the rails. ABI will evaluate next steps regarding converting the corridor to an interim trail. The public is prohibited from using the corridor until ABI announces that it has been brought to a safe standard.