A rendering of The Stitch over the Downtown Connector.

A rendering of The Stitch over the Downtown Connector.

Credit: File

Dist. 5 Congresswoman Nikema Williams announced on Tuesday that $207,645,161 in new federal funding has been secured for The Stitch project in downtown Atlanta and to connect the Atlanta BeltLine to the Fint River Trail.

The funding comes from the Neighborhood Access and Equity Program, a provision based on Williams’ Neighborhood Access and Equity Grants Act which was included in the Inflation Reduction Act passed by Congress. The Stitch will receive $157,645,161 while $50,000,000 will go to connect the Atlanta BeltLine with the Flint River Trail. Williams secured the first federal investment in the engineering phase for The Stitch with her Community Project Funding Grant for FY 22. The Stitch also received one of the first grants from the Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program, which was based on legislation written by Williams. She has secured more than $70 million to complete and connect the BeltLine, including $25 million in June to connect the BeltLine to Lindbergh Center.

The $157,645,161 award for The Stitch will fund phase 1 construction of a planned multi-use 14-acre greenspace over Interstates 75 and 85 that will reconnect the district that was divided by the Downtown Connector in the 1950s.

The $50 million for the Flint River Trail link would further connect communities around Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and would help promote long-term economic growth in the area.  

Williams said in a statement:

“The Stitch will reclaim a massive part of our city from infrastructure that divided the Black neighborhoods of Buttermilk Bottoms, Bedford Pines, and Sweet Auburn. And with a new connection to the BeltLine, we are increasing pathways to opportunity for communities that have historically been overlooked for federal investments. Reconnecting our communities with a focus on equity is why I passed the legislation that funded these transformational grants. I will keep working with Central Atlanta Progress and the Atlanta Regional Commission to build these visionary projects that serve everyone.”

A.J. Robinson, President of Central Atlanta Progress and the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District, and Jack Cebe, Stitch Development Manager, the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District said in a joint statement:

“This historic $157 million investment in the Stitch by USDOT through the Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhoods grant program will fund the implementation of Phase 1, which includes the creation of up to five acres of new park space above the Downtown Connector, improvements to seven Downtown streets, and enhanced connectivity to the MARTA Civic Center bus and rail station. The Stitch has been a dream of the Downtown Atlanta community for 20 years. With the award of this USDOT funding authorized by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act, we are now able to make this dream a reality. The Atlanta Downtown Improvement District (ADID) sincerely thanks Senator Jon Ossoff, Senator Raphael Warnock, and Congresswoman Nikema Williams for their advocacy and support of this grant application, and for their continued commitment to advancing the Stitch. ADID is also grateful for the dedication of its implementation partners to the Stitch and their support of this grant request. These partners include Mayor Andre Dickens and the City of Atlanta, Executive Director Anna Roach and the Atlanta Regional Commission, Commissioner Russell McMurry and the Georgia Department of Transportation, and General Manager Collie Greenwood and MARTA.”

This story comes to GPB through a reporting partnership with Rough Draft Atlanta.