He said plans call for 22,000 new housing units on the
trail, with at least 20 percent of them in the affordable
housing category. To reach those who will be affected
by the BeltLine, his organization has used what he calls
a “robust social media network.
“But we discovered that in some of the more underserved
neighborhoods, those technologies and platforms don’t
always reach everyone. So our communications team
created pop-up community events to meet with neighbors, answer questions and hand out collateral material
so they can know what’s coming up.”
In addition, he said, sometimes the ABI will host Saturday resident roundtables that don’t have specific agendas.
Rather, he explained, community members can ask questions and control the conversations.
Though there was some NIMBY opposition to the BeltLine, Morris said it has been enthusiastically accepted
by most of Atlanta, which is often criticized for having
some of the country’s worst urban sprawl and backed-up commuter traffic.
“When the first part of the BeltLine was completed in
2012, one of the things that every resident and business asked for was a ‘good neighbor fence,’” he said.
“But within six months of when we’d cleared out the
Many businesses are paying
the Atlanta BeltLine for access
licensing agreements to put
paths to their properties.
corridor, all those fences were torn down because they
realized it wasn’t such a bad thing.
“They want access to it now. Many businesses are paying us for access licensing agreements to put paths to
“We’re seeing REALTORS®, developers and politicians
calling the BeltLine their version of waterfront property
in Atlanta. There really has been, in only the past few
years, a fundamental shift. Neighborhoods that were
some of the most vociferous opponents are now wondering when they are going to get their section of BeltLine.”
So far, public and private investment in the project has
totaled about $450 million. Approximately $53 million
of that has been spent to acquire property, clean up and
build parks, trails, housing and create jobs.
“This is more than transportation, open space and community development. It’s economic development, too,
and we track that annually,” Morris added. By the end
of 2015, we had exceeded just over $3 billion in private development.”
He hopes the BeltLine can be completed in 15 years.
ABI owns about two-thirds of the 22 miles needed for
the trail and 75 percent of the 1,300 acres it hopes to
Photos courtesy of Georgia Department of Economic Development