By Jill Erwin
On Friday, Sept. 29, the Westside Trail portion of the Atlanta Beltline became a reality after more than three years of construction on the project. The ribbon was cut along White Street across from Gordon White Park, opening more recreation and connectivity options for those of us in Sylvan Hills.
The Beltline has already brought new businesses and food options close to Sylvan Hills, including Lean Draft House and the developing Lee + White food and beverage district including Monday Night Brewing’s Garage. Within the neighborhood itself, houses that were in poor repair just five years ago have been renovated and sold at much higher values. Atlanta Magazine did a great feature on the highlights of the Westside Trail, which can be seen here.
If you or someone you know is at risk of displacement, the city offers various tax exemptions for homeowners including the basic homestead exemption, homestead exemptions for seniors, homestead freeze for seniors, and tax exemption for surviving spouses of firefighters or peace officers. Find information on these resources here.
With the increased interest in Intown living, especially in the Southwest portion of the city, concerns continue to grow about the escalation of the cost of living in Sylvan Hills and around the area. Beltline founder Ryan Gravel, a former Sylvan Hills resident, resigned from the project last year due to a concern about affordable housing.
“The communities and the people who are on lower fixed income were at the front lines advocating for this project, too. So we can’t call the project a success unless they’re included in that,” Gravel told Atlanta Magazine before he resigned. “We might say it’s already an economic success, but we have to make sure it’s an economic success for everyone. That’s a much higher bar.”
A good sign for our area: The Murphy Triangle that includes Adair Park, Capitol View, Sylvan Hills and Oakland City is one of the areas targeted with a $600,000 funding gift to the City of Atlanta’s Department of City Planning. It is intended to “help reuse vacant and abandoned properties and turn them into community assets such as housing, recreation and open space, health facilities, social services, transportation options, infrastructure and commerce opportunities,” according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Previous properties that received the same kind of funding include Atlantic Station and Ponce City Market.