Last night, while attending a meeting in Washington, DC, I met a man who was jailed in Libya 30 years ago and as horrendous as the experience was, he reminded us to be thankful each and everyday for the gifts of kindness, hard work and commitment we witness in our daily lives. While I didn’t attend the opening of the Beltline’s Eastside Trail today and while I no longer have any responsibility for this phenomenal Atlanta project I am thankful and grateful for those who started the project, contributed along the way and who continue the work started nearly a decade ago.
It takes a good idea and lots of strategic thinking, business and civic experience, financial resources and perseverance to build a multi-billion dollar transformative urban project.
On the occasion of the opening I say CHEERS to all the people who made it happen.
I am glad that Ryan Gravel’s thesis led Cathy Woolard and the City Council to adopt the concept for Atlanta’s Comprehensive Development Plan. I am also glad that (ADA) Atlanta Development Authority under the leadership of Greg Giornelli led the feasibility planning with a committee headed by former Georgia State University President Carl Patton and former Atlanta Housing Authority executive Barney Simms. And I am grateful that Cathy Woolard insisted I take the lead on the project when she left as Council President. And I am really grateful for the project support and guidance of powerhouse Atlanta businessmen Ray Weeks, Cal Darden, SunTrust CEO Phil Humann and Beltline President Terri Montague and Atlanta Beltline Partnership ‘s Valerie Wilson among dozens of other contributors including the architect, Alex Garvin who developed the vision for the Emerald Necklace, and advocated for new parks and trails in southwest and southeast Atlanta. The Path Foundation, Trust for Public Land, Atlanta Regional Council are just a few of the influential Atlanta organizations that determined the vision and whose support gave credence to the project.
One person, one vision a major project does not make even when the vision is an unprecedented project like the Atlanta Beltline.