Major development to expand Atlanta’s Botanical Garden causes controversy

Published: Nov. 29, 2022 at 7:01 PM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - There are mixed feelings around town about a proposed expansion of the Atlanta Botanical Garden. While many people like the idea of added green space, others are against the construction of a new storage facility.

Neighborhood advocate Jenifer Keenan says it was very disappointing to hear that the Botanical Garden is working on a deal to have the public storage facility on Piedmont Avenue next to the garden removed and rebuilt on Monroe Drive across from Piedmont Park just steps away from the BeltLine.

“We support the park. We support the Botanical Garden. I myself am a member of the Botanical Garden but this is a big slap in the face to our neighborhood.”

People living near Monroe Drive just learned of the development plans last week and said a storage facility is not what most had in mind for this vacant property.

“The BeltLine planning that was done with significant public input calls for this parcel to be 1-4 stories of mixed-use which would be commercial on the bottom and residential on the top. That’s the type of development we need here not a storage facility,” said Keenan.

The CEO of the Atlanta Botanical Garden said this is the right path to pursue and that the proposed storage facility is not on the BeltLine, it is in the overlay and therefore would generate less traffic than a mixed-use development.

“Well, a storage facility doesn’t provide any benefit to the neighborhood. And it doesn’t provide any benefit to the Beltline or Piedmont Park. The Botanical Garden is pursuing its expansion at the expense of the other end of the park,” said Keenan.

The CEO of the Atlanta Botanical Garden told Atlanta News First that mixed-use is not always possible and that she is happy to speak with members of the community that still have concerns. Atlanta BeltLine sent Atlanta News First the following statement:

“All projects with the BeltLine Planning Area go before the Design Review Committee. The Design Review Committee is an advisory group of subject-matter experts that provides design consultation, review, and recommendations for all Special Administrative Permits within a half-mile of the Atlanta BeltLine corridor. The Committee is tasked to assist the City of Atlanta’s Office of Planning and Community Development in guiding development around the Atlanta BeltLine according to the Atlanta BeltLine Subarea Master Plans.”