As Atlanta and Fulton County prepare to sell Turner Field to Georgia State University, big changes could be in store for the surrounding neighborhoods.
A new plan from the Turner Field Neighborhoods Livable Centers Initiative, led by the city of Atlanta, provides a guide for what those changes could look like. It promotes things like denser developments and walkable streets.
Jessica Lavandier, assistant director in Atlanta’s office of planning, said it also recommends returning to the neighborhoods’ old street grid, which was wiped out by stadium development and parking lots.
“We divide all those parking lots into smaller blocks,” Lavandier said, referring to the plan, “and we introduce new streets.”
That’s exciting to Jason Dozier, who’s part of the Turner Field Community Benefits Coalition.
He said one of his priorities is making sure his neighborhood, Mechanicsville, and the nearby neighborhoods are friendlier to pedestrians and more accessible to transit.
“Our biggest concern though,” Dozier said, “and something that we caution is that nothing we see here is guaranteed.”
That means if Turner Field is sold to Georgia State, the university and its developers are encouraged, but not exactly required, to follow the city’s recommendations.
Dozier’s group is still working to get a binding “Community Benefits Agreement” included as part of the purchase of the stadium. That would give residents a greater say in Turner Field’s redevelopment.
Once the Livable Centers Initiative plan is formally accepted, Lavandier said, it can influence rezoning in the area.
“So it will be our formal guide for growth and development,” Lavandier said. “We’ll use the plan to evaluate any development proposals.”
For the month of August, the public can comment on the plan. After that, it will go to the Atlanta City Council for approval.
The plan was developed with Invest Atlanta, the Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority and architecture firm, Perkins+Will. Livable Centers Initiative is a grant-based program from the Atlanta Regional Commission.