Credit: Courtesy of the Atlanta Regional Commission
Police training facility gets a green light; Atlanta city council members ask for land protections
The city of Atlanta’s $31 million input into the controversial police training center is a step closer to becoming a reality.
The Atlanta City Council’s Finance and Executive Committee gave the first green light on the facility that opponents have dubbed “Cop City.”
The 85-acre training facility for police officers and firefighters under construction in the South River Forest area has faced intense pushback from environmentalists and community activists.
The committee vote was 5-1, with Council member Liliana Bahktiari voting no. She represents District 5, where the training center is located.
She later introduced a resolution to address environmental issues in that South River Forest area. Council members Matt Westmoreland and Jason Dozier also authored the measure that asks the city to implement the Atlanta Regional Commission’s $100 million South River Forest initiative.
Bahktiari calls the South River Forest a longtime dumping ground for landfills, prisons, truck yards, and heavy industry.
“You cannot eat metal, and you can't drink dirt,’” said Bakhtiari in referring to the contaminated soil and water. “We have to do a better job of being responsible for this land and for this ecology.”
The resolution calls for “addressing green space, tree canopy, and habitat preservation, climate adaptation, watershed management, other ecological services, recreation, public health, mental health, community stabilization, economic development, economic opportunity, and housing affordability, the South River Forest.”
Bakhtiari would like to see a focus on problems that have plagued the South River for decades.
“Doing a restoration of one of the most polluted rivers in the country in an area that has experienced a lot of environmental injustices and has been systemically overlooked,” said Bakhtiari.
Both the final vote on city funding for the police training center and the resolution on creating a plan to implement the Atlanta Regional Commission’s initiative are expected at the Council’s June 5 meeting.