Feds award $157M grant to reconnect Atlanta neighborhoods with the Stitch

Aerial view rendering of the “The Stich” at night. (Courtesy of Jennifer Ball)

Georgia Democratic U.S. Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock and U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams on Tuesday announced an over $150 million grant for the Stitch, a civic infrastructure investment connecting downtown and Midtown.

The goal of the Stitch is to revitalize north Downtown by increasing access to affordable housing, low-cost transportation, jobs and community resources, according to the project’s website.

The $157 million investment will fund the first phase of the project, which will create 5 acres of greenspace over the Downtown Connector (or I-75/I-85), enhance connectivity to the Civic Center MARTA station and improve seven surrounding streets. The total size of the greenspace is expected to be 14 acres once all phases of the Stitch are complete.

Construction of the Downtown Connector in the 1940s and 1950s split apart predominantly Black neighborhoods. The Stitch aims to reconnect those neighborhoods and others.

“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,” said Williams in a press release.

Construction on the first phase of the Stitch is expected to start in 2026 and conclude in 2029. The funding comes from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhoods grant program.

A second grant of $50 million announced Tuesday will go toward a 31.5-mile multi-use trail connecting the Atlanta BeltLine and The Flint River Trail. The funds will also provide support for Finding the Flint, a local organization dedicated to restoring the Upper Flint River.

“This is a tremendous win for the Atlanta region. And importantly, this is what success looks like when we take a regional approach to pursuing federal funding,” said Anna Roach, Atlanta Regional Commission executive director and CEO.

Ossoff said in a press release that both grants deliver historic resources to upgrade transportation and recreation infrastructure throughout Georgia.

Warnock echoed Ossoff.

“[The funding] will help strengthen communities across the Peach State by improving pedestrian mobility, traffic flow and bolster local commerce,” said Warnock.

“As a member of the Senate committee that handles transportation policy, I’m going to keep working with my fellow Georgia lawmakers to direct federal support to important infrastructure projects in our state like the Stitch and make them a reality,” he added.

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens celebrated the new funding.

“Today’s monumental announcement is why effective representation in Washington D.C. matters,” he said in a statement. “These funds will catalyze the Stitch and the Atlanta BeltLine to Flint River Trail, both long-term investments that will unite our communities and move Atlanta forward.”