Banner Year for Southwest Atlanta

Westside Trail at Donnelly Ave., current and future

Westside Trail at Donnelly Ave., current and future

This may be one of the best years ever for Southwest Atlanta. In June, Atlanta Beltline, Inc. (ABI) announced they have completed land acquisition for the Westside Trail. This was the final step in securing $18 million in federal grants for the $43 million section of the beltline. This 3-mile trail will run from University Avenue in Adair Park north to Lena Street at Washington Park.

In July, WonderRoot, an Atlanta-based non-profit arts and service organization, oversaw the unveiling celebration of the University Avenue Corridor Public Art Project (UACPAP). WonderRoot explains that the project, which was funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, “aims to connect residents from Pittsburgh, Adair Park, Capitol View, and Capitol View Manor and move forward the collective imagining of the location as a site for economic and social revitalization.”

Although these southwest communities contain many vacant lots and homes, signs of resurgence are evident on nearly every block. One of oldest and strongest forces pushing for change is the Pittsburgh Community Improvement Association, Inc (PCIA). Since 1999 PCIA has worked to redevelop the historic neighborhood. PCIA is committed “environmentally responsible development by using neighborhood transformation as an opportunity to bring green technologies, skills, and training while preserving the historic fabric of the neighborhood.”

Earlier this year my firm, SK Collaborative, certified 3 EarthCraft House renovation projects for PCIA. These homes received major upgrades to improve livability and lower operating costs. PCIA added insulation, air sealing, duct sealing, and energy efficient appliances, equipment, and lighting to reduce energy consumption. Water efficient showerheads, faucets, and toilets were also installed. These homes both are affordable to purchase and, through reduced utility bills, affordable to own and operate.

One of PCIA's EarthCraft Renovations.

One of PCIA’s EarthCraft Renovations.

The future for southwest Atlanta is starting to look a little brighter through the efforts of the Beltline, WonderRoot, PCIA and the other community organizations.

Trail photo and rendering courtesy of  Atlanta BeltLine, Inc.

About Abe Kruger

Abe Kruger honed his expertise in sustainable construction over the last 10 years as a contractor, educator, and consultant in the residential construction industry. He trains construction industry professionals across the country on sustainable building practices. Abe is the co-founder of SK Collaborative, which provides consulting, design reviews, training, and green building certification. For more information about Abe, visit SK Collaborative.

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