The $1.7 trillion federal government spending bill signed into law by President Joe Biden last week includes dollars for separate projects to cap Atlanta highways with parks.
First, the Midtown Connector Project, a plan to cap the Downtown Connector from 10th Street to North Avenue with a 25-acre park, will receive $3.2 million, according to a press release from U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams (D-Atlanta).
Taylor Morison, chief strategy officer for MCP Foundation, the nonprofit group raising funds for the Midtown Connector Project, could not be reached for comment. Morison told Urbanize Atlanta in August he expected to secure between $750,000 to $5 million in federal funding this year.
The entire project is expected to cost between $800 million and $1.2 billion.
And second, HUB404, a planned multipurpose greenspace to cap state highway Ga. 400 in Buckhead, will receive $750,000. Proponents say the half-mile-long park in Buckhead’s urban core would become a regional attraction with access to the Buckhead MARTA Station and to PATH400.
Rep. Williams, with support from the Georgia delegation, secured the funding for the project from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, according to the Buckhead Community Improvement District. The BCID is leading the effort to secure public funds for the estimated $270 million project.
“This is a significant step toward building HUB404 which will provide safe walkways, greenspaces and easier access to MARTA for residents and visitors,” said Jim Durrett, executive director of the BCID, in a news release.
HB404 is planned to bridge Lenox Road and Ga. 400, linking PATH400 to the Atlanta Beltline, MARTA, neighboring streets and neighborhood parks. The nine-acre park above the highway would also be a place for concerts, festivals, large art displays and other community gatherings.
Durrett said in an email nearly $4.2 million in public funding has been secured for HUB404 over the years from the BCID itself, the Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank and the just-announced $750,000 in HUD funding.
The nonprofit HUB404 Conservancy was formed to raise private money to fund the project. It was slowed by the pandemic and recently launched its first fundraiser. Durrett said about $750,000 has been contributed to the conservancy.
Anthony Rodriguez, executive director of the HUB404 Conservancy, said in the news release that federal funding will “provide incredible momentum for our work to create a world-class, community-driven greenspace showcasing the best of Atlanta.”
HUB404 is set to begin engineering of the bridges over Lenox Road this year, and the engineering of the major section from Lenox Road to Peachtree Road is expected to begin by 2024.
Atlanta has another other highway-capping project, known as The Stitch, that received nearly $1.2 million in federal funding in October.
The Stitch would create approximately 14 acres of urban greenspace atop a new, 3⁄4-mile platform spanning the Downtown Connector between Ted Turner Drive and Piedmont Avenue.