The organization charged with revitalizing the Chattahoochee Riverfront has a new leader at the helm.

Kwanza Hall, former congressman and Atlanta city councilman, has been named managing partner and CEO of Chattahoochee Trails.

Chattahoochee Trails is a new organization intended to provide water reclamation and recreational opportunities along Atlanta’s under-utilized Chattahoochee Riverfront.

“I’ve always loved innovation and technology,” said Hall. “Nature and ecology have always been close to my heart, so this initiative is a natural progression from elective office to public service as a private citizen on behalf of the city I love.”

Born and raised

Born and raised in Atlanta, Hall is the son of the late Leon W. Hall, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s youngest lieutenant, and has dedicated his life to public service.

For 15 years, Hall served on Atlanta City Council and on the Atlanta School Board. As councilman for District 2, Hall has been recognized for leadership in many areas, including economic inclusion, affordable housing, urban design and arts and culture.

Over the course of his career, he has held numerous respected positions, including:

  • Vice chair of the Audit Committee for the Atlanta Board of Education
  • Board member on the Atlanta Development Authority
  • Member of the City of Atlanta Pension Board
  • Chair of the Atlanta City Council’s International Relations Committee
  • Fulton County government lead for the New Technology Division
  • Vice president of Technology for GoodWorks International
  • Director of business development for MACTEC Engineering and Consulting
  • Senior advisor to Maxwell Stamp

Hall has also served as a fellow of the German Marshall Fund and a number of U.S. State Department programs.

He has worked on numerous nonprofit boards, including the World Affairs Council, Leadership Atlanta, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights and Tenet Healthcare/Atlanta Medical Center.

In 2012, Georgia State University honored Hall with the Pioneer Award, its highest recognition for leadership promoting arts and culture in downtown Atlanta.

In 2011, Atlanta’s Park Pride honored Hall for governmental leadership in parks and greenspace advocacy.

Most recently, Hall served as U.S. Representative for Georgia’s 5th district, completing the term of his mentor, the late Congressman John Lewis in the 116th Congress.

During Hall’s brief time serving in congress – just 33 days – he was able to introduce six pieces of legislation, including:

  • Requesting $55 million for transit-oriented development on Atlanta’s Southside
  • Co-sponsoring 14 additional bills
  • Advocating on the floor of Congress 18 times
  • Voting on 25 separate occasions for more than $3 trillion in the combined COVID Relief, Omnibus and Military budgets

“I’m excited to bring all of my experience in government and the private sector to a project of this magnitude. I’m also very excited to work alongside our mayor, the Atlanta City Council, the state of Georgia and the environmental community to bring Chattahoochee Trails to fruition.”

The future of public spaces in Metro Atlanta

Prior to naming its new CEO, Chattahoochee Trails put forward an ambitious proposal to establish a water hub along the riverfront.

The Chattahoochee Trails Water Hub proposal, which was published in October 2021, outlines potential blue and green infrastructure and public space at the confluence of Proctor Creek and the Chattahooche River.

The proposal outlines four key goals:

  • Restore the floodplain
  • Create innovative infrastructure
  • Foster educational experiences
  • Invite surrounding communities

With Hall now at the helm, Chattahoochee Trails will move forward with the project.

“Atlanta has never had a riverfront – although we have a river,” said Hall. “Cities around the world have transformed their riverfronts into historic attractions for visitors and residents, and we can do the same here in Atlanta through the innovative use of our blue and green infrastructure.”

Major environmental groups, including the Trust for Public Land, have endorsed the proposal.

The land trust organization commented that the project will “help connect northwest Atlanta, including low-resource communities, to the river. Too many Atlanta residents, especially people of color, lack easy access to the Chattahoochee. Creating new public space along the river within Atlanta will help address this inequity.”

The Trust for Public Land also noted the importance of the water hub site due to its location, “which also is the terminus of what will be the Proctor Creek Trail (connecting to MARTA’s Bankhead Station and the Atlanta BeltLine).”

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