At-Large City Council Member Andre Dickens Weighs in On Gulch Project, Now Back on City Council Agenda

The project to transform 40 acres of below-level parking lots and rail lines in Downtown into a massive mixed-use development is back on the Atlanta City Council’s agenda for it’s Oct. 15 meeting.

While Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Central Atlanta Progress have urged support of the controversial development, public outcry and concerns by city council members have warped its future.

Taxpayers could be on the hook for upwards of $1.75 billion if the $5 billion deal were approved despite what Andre Dickens, Post 3 At-Large Council member refers to as lack of “broad support for the proposed deal.”
“I’ve read the proposed gulch plan and subsequent materials four times. I’ve had over 300 conversations via phone, text, email, and social media regarding the proposed gulch deal. I’ve talked with the downtown business people, lawyers, developers, politicians, preachers, activists, and a whole lot of everyday citizens.
There are tons of opinions about the merits of the deal and the process. One fact remains clear after all these discussions, there isn’t broad support for the proposed deal. I have a substantial amount of unreadiness and can’t support it at this time.
I believe that this whole process needs to start over with the goal of receiving more input and ideas from all our stakeholders. Everyone I’ve talked to wants to redevelop the gulch — a goal I share for the growth of my hometown. When dealing with public land and public money, however, we must make sure the public has a voice in the decisions we make. We must work together to decide the best path forward. Right now, we are being asked to choose between one plan versus no plan and that is limiting our vision.
Developing publicly owned land in the heart of downtown Atlanta must be planned very carefully. Land is a finite resource. We must take our time to get this right. There are so many more possibilities to create positive social, cultural, and economic outcomes on land owned by the people over land that is privately held. I’m certain that by working together in an open, honest, and inclusive way, we can achieve meaningful outcomes that will benefit the quality of life of all Atlantans.”


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