By Gabriel Owens, contributor
Atlanta Beltline Inc. held a public meeting last night at the Arthur Langford Jr. Recreation Center in Atlanta to give an update to the progress of the Southside Trail, announcing that an interim trail is expected within the next 12 to 18 months.
During this interim period, the main trail will continue to be under the design process, with environmental sampling and engineering issues being looked at, according to Catherine Owens, Beltline’s Principle Engineer.
“We have full funding for the design process of Southside,” said Owens. “But we still do not have full funding for construction or property purchase.”
Owens said there are several undeveloped properties along the trail they are looking to purchase to complete the trail. Estimated final construction costs are $70 to 90 million.
The interim trail will be along the old railroad tracks, and will primarily be for pedestrian and hiking traffic. It is currently closed for use.
“It is not open,” Owens said. “Please observe the no trespassing signs, it is not safe at the moment.”
The presentation gave several conceptual designs for the trail, including a large swath of land along Pryor where they are hoping for a MARTA transit station. Other designs showed green spaces, bike paths and typical trail reshaping of neighborhoods.
Owens took Q and A’s from Southside residents during her presentation. In response to questions, she said the Beltline would put access points to the trail in as many places as possible.
The next meeting will be held at the recreation center on May 5.