Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. (ABI), Atlanta BeltLine Partnership (ABP), and their partners, have reached a major funding milestone that keeps Atlanta’s most ambitious development project on a required timeline to complete the full trail corridor by the end of 2030 when the 25-year Atlanta BeltLine redevelopment plan and its dedicated Tax Allocation District (TAD) are scheduled to end, according to an announcement this week.
Recently secured local, federal, and philanthropic funds bring the total available for real estate acquisition, design, and construction of the multi-use trail corridor to more than $300 million of the $350 million needed for the spine of the broader BeltLine project.
Catalyzed by the passage of the BeltLine Special Service District (SSD) in March, community resources are aligning in a significant way to support the completion of the 22-mile Atlanta BeltLine trail.
The $300 million mark has been crossed less than one year after Atlanta City Council, with the support of Mayor Bottoms and major commercial property owners, approved legislation creating the SSD. Bonds financed by the SSD closed on December 9, providing an immediate cash infusion to continue the momentum achieved in 2021 when three new segments of the Atlanta BeltLine trail system opened to the public. The bond funding plus additional tax increment from the SSD will generate a total of $100 million.
“Passage of the SSD and the subsequent funding it has unlocked are critical to keeping the overall BeltLine project on track,” said Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. CEO Clyde Higgs in the release. “They provide the financial certainty we need to proceed aggressively with trail implementation and allow us to use TAD funds to advance the full BeltLine vision, including affordable housing, transit, parks, art, and equitable economic development.”
ABP has also secured a $80 million contribution from The Robert W. Woodruff Foundation to help fund the completion of the BeltLine trail corridor. The Woodruff Foundation gift also supports the Legacy Resident Retention Program, which mitigates displacement by assisting homeowners with property tax increases through 2030, and ongoing ABP programs and operations over the next five years.
“Words cannot express our gratitude to the Woodruff Foundation for their historic investment in the BeltLine and the communities it connects,” said ABP Executive Director Rob Brawner. “It is truly inspirational as we continue to work with new and longtime BeltLine donors to raise the remaining philanthropic funding needed to complete the BeltLine trail corridor as part of a broader campaign to support new BeltLine parks, resident retention, and programming.”
The landmark donation follows ABI’s recently refined strategy focused on building out trails and affordable housing. Signals of support from public and private entities, ranging from the City of Atlanta to the business community, paved the way for these historic funding pronouncements. These commitments demonstrate the widespread recognition that the BeltLine is fueling a more equitable future for Atlanta and its residents in line with Mayor Bottoms’ vision for One Atlanta.
In November, the City of Atlanta and ABI received a USDOT RAISE grant of $16.46 million for construction of the Southside Trail. The RAISE grant brought the total federal funding towards the $350 million needed for corridor completion to approximately $29 million, which includes nearly $12 million through the Atlanta Regional Commission Transportation Improvement Program for Southside and Northeast Trail segments and $500,000 from the Environmental Protection Agency for remediation of Southside Trail segments.
The SSD, philanthropic, and federal funds complement the $100 million Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. has dedicated to trail corridor completion from the BeltLine TAD — and they demonstrate significant progress toward realizing the $350 million funding plan that was laid out in support of the SSD.
In accordance with ABI’s equity and inclusion priorities, the passage of the SSD enables up to $45 million in additional affordable housing funds, up to $12 million in additional small business support, and up to $150 million in construction and design funds targeted towards minority-owned contractors. Completion of the trail corridor is expected to deliver a total economic impact of $10 billion and approximately 50,000 permanent jobs for the City of Atlanta.
Work continues to secure the remaining local, federal, and philanthropic resources needed to fully fund the corridor completion.