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The Man Behind Atlanta’s BeltLine: ‘It’s Been Amazing’

FILE- In this Nov. 20, 2012 file photo, a couple walks along the Atlanta BeltLine as the midtown skyline stands in the background in Atlanta. The Atlanta BeltLine is an urban redevelopment project that aims to turn an old 22-mile railroad corridor that rings the city’s in-town neighborhoods into a network of trails, parks, affordable housing and, eventually, transit. So far, only the 2.2-mile Eastside Trail has opened, with skyline views and regularly changing public art installations providing added scenery for those who walk, bike and jog along the path. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)
FILE- In this Nov. 20, 2012 file photo, a couple walks along the Atlanta BeltLine as the midtown skyline stands in the background in Atlanta. The Atlanta BeltLine is an urban redevelopment project that aims to turn an old 22-mile railroad corridor that rings the city’s in-town neighborhoods into a network of trails, parks, affordable housing and, eventually, transit. So far, only the 2.2-mile Eastside Trail has opened, with skyline views and regularly changing public art installations providing added scenery for those who walk, bike and jog along the path. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)
Credit David Goldman / Associated Press

The Atlanta BeltLine is far from finished, but its four trails and six parks are already crowded with residents on any given day, walking, biking or jogging along this historic urban redevelopment project – one of the largest currently underway in the U.S.   

But a little over 15 years ago the entire project was just an idea in graduate student Ryan Gravel’s imagination that he first proposed in his master’s thesis at Georgia Tech.

Gravel joined Rose Scott and Denis O’Hayer on “A Closer Look” to discuss the original concept for the BeltLine project, how he first envisioned it, when he realized it no longer belonged just to him, and more on  “A Closer Look.”

Though he acknowledged the Eastside trail of the BeltLine has been very positive for the neighborhoods around it, he acknowledged that every community the the BeltLine touches in Atlanta is going to be different.

“At the end of the day the BeltLine is a very narrow piece of land. It’s the relationship of what happens along it with the communities that really gives it life. That’s what makes a city come to life,” Gravel said.

The BeltLine is being built in phases and is slated for completion by 2030.