A rendering of the Atlanta BeltLine Southside Trail where it passes underneath the Downtown Connector.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced Thursday, March 15, that the City of Atlanta has acquired the railroad corridor needed to complete the Atlanta BeltLine’s Southside Trail.

The acquisition will connect the Eastside and Westside Trails for approximately 14 contiguous miles of the BeltLine corridor. The purchase is the single-largest remaining land acquisition for Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. (ABI), representing more than four miles and 63 acres of the Atlanta BeltLine’s planned 22-mile transit and trail loop.

The corridor was purchased in a $26 million transaction with CSX, who operated rail on this corridor until 2014. Design of the Southside Trail is underway, funded by a $2.4 million grant from the Atlanta Regional Commission. Community engagement commenced in 2016 and will continue throughout the design process, establishing trail alignment, access points, vertical connections, and preparation for future transit.

A rendering of the Southside Trail near D.H. Stanton Park.

“I am pleased to announce that the City of Atlanta and the Atlanta BeltLine have concluded the largest remaining single purchase of land toward closing the Atlanta BeltLine loop,” said Bottoms. “With this historic purchase, the City of Atlanta is taking another step forward in improving connectivity, growth and investment in South Atlanta by providing access to trails, transit options and world-class greenspace for all residents.”

“The Southside Trail will connect the east side of the Atlanta BeltLine to the west side for the first time in its history – and that changes everything.” said Brian P. McGowan, President and CEO of ABI. “This inactive rail corridor that once divided neighborhoods can now be used to create jobs, transit and affordable housing options for communities south of downtown.”

This purchase of the Southside Trail extends from University Avenue on the Westside to Glenwood Avenue on the Eastside, running adjacent to several neighborhoods including Pittsburgh, Capitol View Manor, High Point, South Atlanta, Peoplestown, Chosewood Park, Grant Park, Boulevard Heights, Ormewood Park and Summerhill.

ABI hopes to open the trail in an interim state within the year, according to a press release on the transaction. The corridor will remain closed while CSX works to remove the rails and the Kimley-Horn design team begins detailed engineering and site investigations.

Collin Kelley

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.