By Jenny Odom, Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. Communications & Media Relations Manager
U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff toured a federally funded portion of the Atlanta BeltLine today with Clyde Higgs, President and CEO of the 22-mile loop trail, one of the largest and most wide-ranging urban redevelopment programs being undertaken in the United States.
“Congressional support and federal funding help accelerate the vision of the Atlanta BeltLine’s full 22-mile loop,” Higgs said to the senator, business owners and residents who attended a meeting and tour that started at Pittsburgh Yards then traveled the Southside Trail. “The Atlanta BeltLine is not only reconnecting neighborhoods historically divided and marginalized by infrastructure, but providing tools to help residents and business stay in place and flourish along the corridor.”
“Thank you to Clyde and the entire BeltLine team for your leadership advancing this vital infrastructure and quality of life project for Atlanta. I have built the bi-partisan support in Congress necessary to secure an additional $5 million for the development of the Atlanta BeltLine Southside Trail. The bill has been signed by the President and funds are in disbursement and on the way to help support this extraordinary infrastructure” Ossoff said. “The BeltLine is a key part of metro Atlanta’s future and vital to the development of connected, thriving communities and supporting families with a high standard of living and access to education, entrepreneurial opportunities, nutrition, schools, affordable housing, and more.”
Ossoff has successfully led several efforts to secure funding for the Atlanta BeltLine. In March, he led a bipartisan effort in the U.S. House and Senate to earmark $5 million in federal funds for the continued development of the BeltLine Southside Trail.
Last November, Sens. Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock secured a $16.4 million RAISE grant to accelerate the construction of the Southside Trail, from Pittsburgh Yards to Boulevard Crossing Park. Last May, Sen. Ossoff secured a commitment from Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to advance the completion of the BeltLine.
“Federal commitments like this enable the Atlanta BeltLine to expand in all of our program areas that enhance residents’ and business’ quality of life,” Higgs said. “We are doubling down on our support of small businesses and leveraging the connectivity of the Atlanta BeltLine to better serve our communities.”
Sen. Ossoff has also supported legislation that bolsters the BeltLine’s role as an economic development driver for the state. For example, in April, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) awarded a grant, funded by the American Rescue Plan, to Atlanta Beltline, Inc. to create the BeltLine Business Solutions Office.
The BeltLine Business Solutions Office will deliver tailored solutions to local small businesses seeking to expand across the BeltLine corridor with a prioritization on businesses owned by women and minorities.
The Atlanta BeltLine Southside Trail is approximately four miles, along a former freight rail corridor from University Avenue in southwest Atlanta to Bill Kennedy Way in southeast Atlanta. The next section – between Boulevard and Glenwood Avenue – is slated to go into construction later this year. When complete, it will connect to the already-completed Eastside and Westside Trails for a total of 10 paved miles.