Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has halted all development near the new Westside Park.
The $26 million project is transforming the old Bellwood Quarry into the city’s biggest greenspace. The ribbon-cutting for the park is expected this spring.
But as Westside Park’s opening approaches, nearby residents say real estate speculation is changing the makeup of adjacent neighborhoods, like Grove Park.
Justin Bleeker of the community development organization Grove Park Renewal said he’s seeing existing residents face evictions and home prices reach the $300,000s.
Through a new group called Grove Park Lives, Bleeker and his neighbors have lobbied the city to develop a plan to prevent displacement caused by the park.
He welcomed the new permit moratorium as a first step — even if it may delay his own group’s efforts to build affordable housing.
“It can’t stop gentrification. That’s already well on its way,” Bleeker said. “However, it does send a signal, and something is better than nothing from where I sit in Grove Park.”
Under the six-month moratorium, the city won’t approve any new permits in parts of Grove Park, Bankhead and Knight Park/Howell Station.
In the meantime, Bottoms directed city agencies to craft plans for transportation and equitable development around the Westside Park.
“A key pillar to the Administration’s comprehensive affordable housing plan is ensuring long-term residents are not priced out of the neighborhoods they have built,” Bottoms said in a city press release.