The Beltline — a 22-mile loop around Atlanta that would combine mixed-use development, parks, trails and transit — has been one of Mayor Shirley Franklin’s big ideas.
But the real estate crash has placed its financing in question.
On Tuesday, four Atlanta mayoral candidates gathered at All Saints Episcopal Church to describe how they intend to keep the project on track.
My AJC colleague Eric Stirgus was there. As was former City Council president and commuter Cathy Woolard, who served as moderator.
“Still driving,” Woolard said to some responses, drawing laughter from the standing room crowd of about 250 people.
The candidates, by and large, said it will take time and money to get some of the work done.
Council President Lisa Borders: Spoke about allowing people or organizations to pay for sponsorships of city parks to generate revenue. Borders also reiterated her idea of a “revolving fund” where homeowners can borrow money from the city — possibly with low-interest — to pay for some sidewalk improvements.
Councilwoman Mary Norwood: Said she’ll consider another bond referendum to fund sidewalk improvements. Norwood also spoke of a system of jitneys and trams to help residents get to transit on the Beltline if they don’t live close to it.
Former state senator Kasim Reed: Said he’d consider issuing bonds to pay for sidewalk improvements and push for allowing residents to vote whether they want to create a 1 percent sales tax to fund transportation projects.
Attorney Jesse Spikes: Said he’d root out what he believes is wasteful spending in city departments, such as fleet services and watershed management and use the savings for projects such as the Beltline.
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