Cox Foundation gives city $30M donation to finish Atlanta BeltLine

ATLANTA — An historic gift promises to help complete the Atlanta BeltLine in just a few years.

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens announced Tuesday afternoon that $30 million will be coming from the James M. Cox Foundation to close the circle and finish the entire BeltLine by 2030.

City leaders say the BeltLine has become an attraction that they only expect to grow.

“Today is truly a day where we’re going to complete a circle,” Dickens said, thanking the Cox Foundation and chairman Jim Kennedy for the money to close the literal gap in the Beltline’s eventual 22-mile loop.

The money will go mostly to design and construct trail in the northwest segment.

“That’s roughly about 4 ½ miles of BeltLine trail,” Atlanta BeltLine CEO and president Clyde Higgs said. “This is a development where people will see come from the imagination to being completed in their generation, in their lifetime.”

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The eventual finished loop will connect 45 different neighborhoods across Atlanta.

While the BeltLine has brought in new condos, businesses, shops and restaurants, development also boosted rents and property values in some places, forcing some people out of once-affordable areas.

The criticism even came up from a passerby during Tuesday news conference.

The mayor, BeltLine executives and the PATH Foundation promised to address the issue saying the trails should provide access and inclusion for everyone.

But they won’t promise an exact completion date.

“There’s a chance that we can finish perhaps even before 2030. No promises, but this will give us an opportunity to really push forward,” Higgs said.

The BeltLine said this is a record donation from the Cox Foundation and Kennedy, who helped launch the original fundraising campaign for it in 2007.

They’ve now given a total of $44 million to help fund the BeltLine.

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