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Friday, October 12, 2012

Beltline to officially open Eastside Trail on Monday

Mayor Kasim Reed on Monday will help dedicate the Atlanta Beltline's Eastside Trail, the winding 2.25-mile bike path between Piedmont Park and Inman Park which, for the last few months, has been enjoyed by joggers and hikers.

Via Atlanta Beltline Inc., the nonprofit that's in charge of developing and planning the 22-mile loop of parks, trails, and transit:

“The opening of the Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail will be a revelation for Atlantans who can traverse their city, neighborhood-to-neighborhood in unprecedented fashion,” said Mayor Kasim Reed. “This world-class public space is the result of great public-private partnerships. It creates new mobility options, lays the foundation for transit along the Atlanta BeltLine, promises improved health and enhanced neighborhoods, and is already spurring sustainable economic growth and development.”

One of the most eagerly-awaited public spaces in Atlanta, the new 2.25-mile long section of the Atlanta BeltLine, running from Irwin St. to 10th St. and Monroe Dr., connects the neighborhoods of Inman Park, Old Fourth Ward, Midtown, Poncey Highland and Virginia Highland. It contains a 14-foot wide concrete trail and 30 acres of landscaped greenspace, including spaces for both public art and naturalistically designed exercise station. This section of trail also connects Piedmont Park to Freedom Park and Historic Fourth Ward Park and Skatepark - and connects to the PATH Foundation trail running from Stone Mountain to downtown. The completion of the Eastside Trail combined with the first two trails on the Atlanta BeltLine — the West End Trail and the Northside Trail — brings the total of permanent trails to nearly six miles along and near the corridor.

Interesting factoid: more than $775 million in new private development has taken place within one-half mile of this Beltline section in the last seven years.

I've been kind of intrigued over the last few months at how Atlantans just kind of took ownership of the trail, ignoring warning signs, orange pylons, and little strips of tape. That kind of enthusiasm probably keeps project officials and Beltline attorneys up at night, but it's a sign that people were ready for this Beltline segment to open last week.

Wanna join the fun? Head to the Historic Fourth Ward Skatepark at 10 a.m. on Monday. Parking's limited so consider... maybe walking the trail?

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