By Gabriel Owens, contributor
A ribbon cutting and community celebration for the Westside Trail was held at Gordon White Park yesterday by Atlanta BeltLine Inc. and the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership with Mayor Kasim Reed acting as the keynote speaker.
The new three-mile corridor runs from Washington Park to Adair Park in Southwest Atlanta and features 14 access points, public art and greenway.
The event was kicked off with ABI’s CEO Brian McGowan amidst a collection of vendor booths and bouncy houses in the hot Atlanta sun.
“This trail will have a transformative effect on the city” he said. “This will foster new jobs, promote business creation and ensure livable communities in Southwest Atlanta.”
The Westside Trail is the most expansive and expensive project the Beltline has completed to date, with over $43 million invested. The amenity connects four schools, four parks and a dozen Westside neighborhoods. The trail will also feature murals, sculptures and other artwork. Running from Washington Park to Adair Park in Southwest Atlanta, the new 14-foot wide multi-use trail features 14 access points, public art and greenway.
The event featured several speakers: Atlanta BeltLine Partnership Executive Director Rob Brawner, Cox Enterprises Executive Vice President and CFO Dallas Clement, Kaiser Permanente Georgia President Jim Simpson, Georgia Department of Transportation board member Stacey Key, Atlanta Public School students Maya Hadley and Markail Brooks. Congressman John Lewis was also on hand to introduce Reed.
“I moved to southwest Atlanta in 1964,” Lewis said. “This is unreal. These neighborhoods are going to be beautiful.”
Reed echoed the congressman’s enthusiasm for the project.
“Today is a good day in the City of Atlanta as we celebrate a promise kept with the opening of the new Westside Trail,” said Reed. “My Administration was committed to working with the Atlanta BeltLine and other partners to make this shared public space available in Southwest Atlanta, connecting some of the city’s most important and historic neighborhoods in a new way while honoring them with such a valuable and significant investment.”
Following all the speakers, the Mayor and accompanying speakers moved the crowd to the trail proper as Reed cut the ribbon, officially opening the Westside Trail for business.