With additional funding from bonds and two approved sales tax referenda, Atlanta BeltLine Inc. officials are poised to move ahead with significant projects and continue their push to increase affordable housing along the trail.
In an ABI executive meeting Wednesday morning, CEO Paul Morris told board members the process was moving ahead to approve a series for three bonds that includes $40 million for capital projects, $20 million for debt repayment, $7.5 million for affordable housing and $2.5 million for economic development.
“Everything continues to be moving in a positive direction,” Morris said. “It’s a little bit complicated because of the nature of this and the funding streams that need to be addressed.”
ABI plans to close the bonds before the end of December. They are also looking to see whether they will need to hire additional staff for teams such as procurement, legal and finance to move forward and support the planned projects, Morris said.
ABI is also gearing up to spend about $64 million they expect to get over five years from a transportation funding referendum that was approved in Tuesday’s election.
Of that $55 million will be spent on purchasing right-of-ways for the remainder of the 22-mile loop around the city.
The remaining $9 million will be spend on lighting for the trail. The lighting will first be installed on the existing Eastside Trail and then on other trails as they are completed.
The Beltline will also benefit from a MARTA funding referendum that was approved. Some of that funding will go towards light rail and streetcar expansion.
“We will be advancing significantly increased procurement over the next two to three years because of these three new funding streams,” Morris said.
James Alexander, ABI’s Housing Policy and Development Director, they are will be ready to move ahead with several affordable housing projects as soon as the bond money is available.
ABI staff are also working with City Councilman Andre Dickens, who has introduced a city ordinance that will implement mandatory inclusionary zoning in the Beltline area.