Many Atlantans take for granted that having the world’s most traveled airport puts our southern town on the map globally as an economic engine and a hub for connection.
The Aerotropolis Atlanta Alliance (Aero ATL) is a nonprofit coalition of partners organized under various governing bodies to drive economic investment and growth around Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport and its growing assets.
Kirsten Berry is program director for the Aerotropolis Atlanta Community Improvement District (CID), which was established in Fulton County in 2014. Since then, Aero ATL has made nearly $50 million worth of improvements in the airport area. Now, they want to extend their mission of beautification, installing waystations and signage, and improving public safety and infrastructure around the airport.
At the center of the Aerotropolis effort is the desire for connectivity—safe, walkable sidewalks, attractive greenspaces and additional affordable housing. “People want this to be a place,” said Berry. “How can we help them navigate to the various attractions around the airport?”
Recognizing historic disinvestment and underinvestment in neighborhoods and businesses south of I-20, this month’s SART examined the potential of the Aerotropolis to catalyze investment in these communities.
“[The airport] was originally developed to be very insular, very inward focused,” said Jon Tuley, senior principal planner of Atlanta Regional Commission. “What we’re wanting to do during the LCI (Livable Centers Initiative) process is kind of open that up a little more. Still carry forward with the master plans that have been going on now, but start to look outward a little more so that it connects with the community. That should be a focal point, both because of the transit access and the services you bring there, there should be some synergy between the hotel convention guests and the actual community there. There should be services offered that will supplement what’s already going on, and become a new focus for them.”
This attention and focus of resources presents the largest current opportunity for our city and region to invest in communities and attract new business, such as Porsche, on the south side. Learn more about Aerotropolis Atlanta at www.aeroatl.org.