Ryan Gravel Speaks Out After Resigning from the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership

Streetsblog USA shares an interview with the visionary behind the Atlanta BeltLine, who discusses how the city's booming economy has conflicted with the mission of the project.

2 minute read

October 10, 2016, 9:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Atlanta BeltLine

Eddie Krebs / Flickr

Angie Schmitt spoke with Ryan Gravel following his high-profile resignation from the board of the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership.

As explained by Schmitt, Gravel laid out the vision of the BeltLine, to "[transform] forgotten railroad tracks circling the city of Atlanta into a recreational and active transportation corridor," and helped the idea gain political and financial support as well as attract the admiration of observers all over the country. Thus, Gravel's resignation was a big deal, and Schmitt's interview provides a chance to clear the air and sound an alarm about the pressing concerns that caused Gravel to act.

Here, Gravel explains in his own words why issues of equity and gentrification have become central in the conversation about the BeltLine:

It’s just become clear with the economy roaring back and the population in the city growing quite a lot, and projected to grow quite a lot, if we want to live up to the promise of the BeltLine we need to get more aggressive on [housing] affordability.

According to Gravel, the mission of the BeltLine partnership has come to be defined by a tension between "the need to raise money for the project and the need to leverage some of the community’s passion for the project to achieve political pressure to achieve its outcomes."

Gravel also suggests some future actions to help solve the problems he's encountered, such as loosening development regulations for housing and having a more public dialogue. Gravel also concludes by hinting at his next steps, which could include a new organization.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016 in Streetsblog USA

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