Construction officially underway on crucial Atlanta Beltline link

City leaders call construction of the southside section another important milestone for the Beltline.
Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 4:49 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - The Atlanta Beltline loop is the perfect place to catch up with friends, walk your dog, or take a care-free stroll. On Monday afternoon crews broke ground on the much-anticipated southside trail.

City leaders call the construction of the southside section another important milestone for the Beltline and their goal of reconnecting dozens of neighborhoods throughout Atlanta.

“I mean, it’ll be really nice to be able to bike a little bit easier. People do bike here, but it is still kind of challenging. So, looking forward to being able to bike,” said Katie O’Connell, who was out for a walk along the Beltline Monday.

Atlanta city leaders joined representatives with Beltline Inc. for a ceremonial groundbreaking of the much-anticipated construction of the Southside Trail Monday. The 1.2-mile stretch of the Beltline is a crucial link between the east and south sides.

“Segments four and five link several neighborhoods back together, including Ormewood Park and Grant Park, underserved communities south of I-20,” said Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens.

Nearly 16 miles of the 22-mile loop are built so far, but construction hasn’t been without growing pains. Critics have argued there is a lack of affordable housing along the already completed eastside section of the Beltline near Ponce City Market. Some worry the same will happen on the south and west sides as new housing is already being constructed.

“I think there’s a lot of challenges around affordable housing. I think there’s a lot of challenges sort of for what’s being built along the Beltline. But at the same time, I think there’s a lot of benefits to it,” said O’Connell.

Beltline Inc. President and CEO Clyde Higgs addressed those concerns during Monday’s groundbreaking. Higgs says significant progress is being made on the housing front. He says they’re on track to reach their goal of 5,600 units by 2030.

“Last year we exceeded our affordable housing goal by 30% for 2022. That was significant,” he said.

The southside trail of the Beltline will be closed during construction. It’s slated to reopen fully paved by 2025.