Beltline discussion ratchets up a notch | ajc.com
I'm a strong supporter of the Beltline. It represents a golden opportunity for this city that only comes along once. It could transform Atlanta from the sleepy hollow it is now to a vibrant city with character and excitement.
My fear, though, is that Atlanta will somehow find a way to take this terrific nearly perfect plan and screw it up royally. There are those in Atlanta, especially the activists in the NPUs that will automatically oppose any change, no matter how good it is. Some people just want to keep things the way they are. But, none of the great cities of the world became that way by not having a vision.
Atlanta is really like four, five, or six different cities existing side by side. People living in Southwest Atlanta have an entirely different experience from people living in Buckhead, or Downtown, or the Highlands. Each neighborhood has it's own attitude, but those neighborhoods are sometimes shy about showcasing what makes them all different -- out of fear in my opinion, that one neighborhood may get some advantage over the others.
The Beltline will be the engine that links us all together as Atlantans. The poorer neighborhoods will always remain poor if there is no reason for other Atlantans to go there. And even if there is a reason, there also has to be a WAY to get there. Atlantan's don't wander. I think of times I've been in New York, or Paris, or Tokyo and there are so many examples when I've been lucky enough to stumble upon something wonderful in those cities just because I was out wandering about. The Beltline will allow us to wander and discover great things about the "Other Atlantas" that we never knew existed.
But, people like Khalid Kamau oppose it anyway. He can't understand why trash piles up around his building because he's waiting for the Atlanta Development Authority to come take it away. Keep waiting, my friend. Khalid opposes the Beltline, not because it's a bad idea, but because the ADA is going to run it. The ADA will not screw up the Beltline because there are too many big players with huge capital invested to allow them to do so. So, Khalid can sit on his pile of garbage and wring his hands and wonder what to do while the rest of us turn this city into something great. And, some of that greatness might just flow down to Mechanicsville and miraculously the trash will disappear.
The Beltline is bold and exciting, and yes, risky. But keeping things the same is far more dangerous. The people like Khalid, who "would prefer the Beltline just disappear" should just get out of the way.
Wow, what inacurate reporting. I wasn't even interviewed for this "article."
I'm very easy to find. I've got a name and a website that's easy to google (which is, in fact, how I found this blog). But like the AJC, where I am horribly misquoted, this is another example of a reporter having a story written before he does his first interview.
For the record, I am not opposed to the BeltLine. However, I am concerned that ADA leadership, whose projects south of I-20 have been developed without cultural and socio-economic analysis or sensitivity (see AJC article), will repeat these same mistake across the BeltLine's south side.
Time will tell.