As 2024 begins, it’s an opportune time to wind back the clock and take stock of the incremental work that shaped the Upper Westside Improvement District during the 365 days of 2023.
In case you’re new around here (welcome, we’re glad you’re here!), here’s a quick rundown to get you up to speed: the Upper Westside Improvement District was created in 2016 thanks to a group of civic-minded commercial property owners to enhance the transportation network, connectivity, safety, and overall experience for everyone in the district boundary. Since our inception, we’ve grown to cover 3-square mile geography between roughly Northside Dr to the east, Collier Rd to the north, Marietta Blvd to the west, and Jefferson St to the south. At its core, the Upper Westside CID’s purpose has been to build strategic infrastructure improvements, ensuring the district’s long-term vibrancy as it grows.
In 2023, our District staff worked tirelessly to continue this mission of creating a safer, more mobile, and greener community for its residents. While you might not have seen transformation projects built, we worked behind the scenes for 2024 to be chock-full of construction and
Here’s a closer look at some of the ways we moved the needle in 2023 (aka milestones worth celebrating)! First up… don’t let the winter temps fool you, because things have gotten a lot greener around here this year!
Our PUBLIC SPACE INITIATIVES:
- MARTA Transit Parklet: Across from our Huff Hill Pocket Park, this new parklet is amenitized with a wood deck, Adirondack chairs, colorful canopy to shade pedestrians, and railings showcasing some Blandtown neighborhood history. Click here to learn more about the unique history of this special spot!
- Blandtown Pocket Park: The transformation of underutilized spaces into vibrant pockets of greenery continues with the first Blandtown Pocket Park! Located across from the corner of Ellsworth & Huff, consider yourself invited to relax, play a few rounds of cornhole and then head to one of the surrounding restaurants like The Whelan, Agavero Cantina, or The Bone Garden! P.S. – When you visit any of our pocket parks in the Upper Westside, make sure to tag us on social @upperwestsideatl!
- The Hill at Waterworks Progress: Nearly 2 years ago (back in December 2021), a big announcement was made that for the first time in 25 years, one of the highest points in the city of Atlanta would be open to the public, thanks to the Upper Westside Improvement District and Friends of Waterworks (read more here). Fast forward to February 2023, Park Pride awarded a $100,000 grant to amenitize this 2-acre public space! Since then, the newest additions to the 2-acre greenspace are nearly complete, including a stone stairway, a paved sidewalk (perfect for walking and running), and a stone overlook complete with adirondacks on the edge of the greenspace (ideal for birdwatching, admiring the reservoir, or taking in views of Buckhead).
Our VERY FIRST ANNUAL EVENT…
- Westside Stride: On October 29, 2023, we put on the inaugural (and much anticipated) Westside Stride! This family-friendly open street festival was an exciting day filled with activities, entertainment, and food & drink. Westside Stride transformed Howell Mill Road into a car-free paradise for all ages! The event also raised awareness about the walkability and bikeability of the area, inviting families and friends to come together and discover the vibrancy of the Marietta Street Artery, Berkeley Park, and Blandtown neighborhoods. Stay tuned for the 2024 date announcement!
Next up, we tackled litter, trash, and invasive species! Here’s how:
- Upper Westside Street Sweeper: In 2023, we welcomed the newest addition to our maintenance crew – SLEEPING BEAUTY! In all her bedazzled glory, she worked day in and day out to keep the Upper Westside in tip-top shape by picking up litter and debris along our streets and even in our bike lanes.
- Woodall Weed Wrangle: We also co-hosted a monthly cleanup event to remove invasive plants along the Woodall Rail Trail. ICYMI, Woodall Rail Trail is a planned trail connection between the Westside BeltLine and the Silver Comet Trail to Alabama!
Finally, it is with great joy, pride, and all the warm fuzzies that we share the following improvements to safety and transportation:
- Huff Multimodal Study: We won a grant from the Atlanta Regional Commission to study feasible improvements along Huff Road in Blandtown, with the goal of transforming this freight corridor into a safe, accessible, and multimodal one! There will be several opportunities in 2024 to provide input on how to retrofit and improve Huff Road for all users. Visit www.huffrd.com to learn more!
- Zoning Overlay: One important project included in the Upper Westside Masterplan was to create a zoning overlay, AKA a set of additional development regulations on a specific area, meant to provide standards when properties are redeveloped. The goal of this is to ensure consistency across different zoning categories on things like sidewalks, tree planting, and open space, which may otherwise be varied.
An Ode to the Masterplan: Moving the Needle on Community Visiony, pride, and all the warm fuzzies that we share the following improvements to safety and transportation:
Thanks to our phenomenal community-driven masterplan many of you helped shape, we’re following a roadmap for strategic investment. One that has been possible thanks to strong partnerships from the public and private sectors. Each project, be it a study or capital project, whether completed or still in progress, contributes to the big picture of a district that prioritizes sustainability, safety, and community well-being. Thank you Upper Westsiders for your support and your vision!
Looking Forward to 2024:
But our work is never done! We took two important trail projects identified in the Upper Westside Masterplan through design and permitting in 2023. We’re excited to announce we’ll be breaking ground on the Woodall Rail Trail and The Spur in 2024. Keep an eye out for our upcoming newsletters where we’ll give you the scoop on construction!
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: The best is yet to come for the Upper Westside!
If you want to stay updated on The Upper Westside, make sure to follow along on social!