Friday, February 22, 2013

Conversion of Abandoned Rail Tracks in Atlanta into Parkland Shows Government Can Work

Just Don’t Tell Conservatives

In Atlanta about 14 years ago a student at Georgia Tech wrote a purely academic program on an idea, the idea being for the city to buy up old abandoned railroad right of ways and replace the tracks with parks, bike paths etc. 

The idea began humbly, as a graduate thesis at Georgia Tech. In 1999, a student, Ryan Gravel, proposed an overhaul of the railroad corridor. He expected the 120-page academic paper to gather dust at a campus library, he said.

But amazingly the project was made into a reality.

Instead a city councilwoman, Cathy Woolard, who later became the Council’s president, heard about the proposal and seized on it. She forged an unlikely coalition of environmentalists, transit officials, local artists and real estate developers. The city began buying the railroad corridor in 2007.

And amazingly, economic development followed.

Rich Addicks for The New York Times
Bonjovi the dog got a concert and a ride on the Eastside Trail one Saturday last month. The BeltLine project links 45 neighborhoods.

Construction along the Eastside Trail has boomed. The largest real estate project is a 2.1 million-square-foot former Sears distribution center that is being converted into apartments, restaurants and a rooftop miniature golf course.

Skip Engelbrecht owns an antique furniture store, Paris on Ponce, that backs up to the Eastside Trail. He said business has increased tenfold over the past two years as the trail opened.

Wow, business development and job growth, something Conservatives must surely supporting.  Well no, because it involves taxes and government spending, something Conservatives hate even if it does promote their own positions.

No comments:

Post a Comment