Mayor Kasim Reed has signaled that he may be looking for a change in leadership at Atlanta BeltLine Inc.
According to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, at a recent Atlanta Commerce Club luncheon Reed said the Beltline needs a leader that is ” committed to affordability as a first thought and not an after-thought.” Reed was evasive about whether he was considering firing Atlanta BeltLine Inc. CEO Paul Morris, who has held the job since 2013. To read the Business Chronicle story, click here.
Reed’s remarks come in the wake of a report published by the Atlanta Journal Constitution outlining how the Atlanta Beltline has failed to achieve its goals of providing affordable housing.
According to the report, Beltline officials reduced the amount of money spent on affordable housing and sought accounting changes to make its affordable housing goals more attainable. ABI was tasked with building 5,600 affordable homes. So far, it has only created 785, including 200 currently under construction, the report says.
The Beltline’s lack of focus on affordable housing prompted the departures of Ryan Gravel and Nathaniel Smith from the Atlanta Beltline Partnership board.
Gravel is the urban planner who initially proposed the concept of the Beltline. Smith is the founder of the Partnership for Southern Equity, an Atlanta nonprofit working towards balanced growth and shared prosperity in the American South.
Reed and Morris did not respond when asked to comment on the report. The Beltline did send out a press release today announcing a new partnership with the Atlanta Housing Authority “to advance affordable housing goals.” The agreement represents a $45 million investment in affordable housing between both agencies, the press release says.
“Affordable housing is a team effort,” Morris said in the press release about the agreement. “Partners like the Atlanta Housing Authority help us ensure that affordability continues to be at the forefront of the Atlanta BeltLine so that everyone has the opportunity to call Atlanta their home.”