NewAPS-LogoMayor Kasim Reed announced this morning in a press conference that a deal had been reached between the city and Atlanta Public Schools to repay the school system tax money used to expand the Atlanta BeltLine.

Because growth along the BeltLine was less than expected, meaning less tax collection, the city was able to negotiate a new series of payments of $73.5 million through 2030 – $89 million less than the city originally owed to APS. The city will also pay off its past debts to APS totaling more than $14 million.

The city also agreed to give APS the former Bankhead Courts housing project, which was demolish in 2011 with plans to transform it into a mixed-use development. A trustee will also be appointed to make sure APS gets its money in a timely manner from the city.

City Council President Ceasar Mitchell said in a statement that he was pleased an agreement had been reached.

“Today’s announcement is an example of the possibilities when stakeholders come together to find real solutions to tough problems. While the process was tenuous at times, I am pleased that we are making progress on this very important issue” Mitchell said. “I want to thank Mayor Reed, APS’ and the BeltLine, Inc.’s leadership for operating in a spirit of collaboration. I hope this same level of cooperation leads to action at Monday’s Council meeting, which enables the City to realize the original vision of the Beltline: a source to unify, transform and improve the quality of life for all Atlantans. Finalizing a resolution will offer proof to the fact that when we say we put children –and the future of Atlanta – first, we mean it.”

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.