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Atlanta's Plans For Parks Over Highways Get National Attention

Rendering for the proposed Park Over 400 greenway that would rise over Georgia 400 in Buckhead.

Atlanta's efforts to create new swaths of green space over its major interstate has taken the national spotlight.

The Wall Street Journal reported this week about a push by some city leaders to create decked parks over the Interstate 75/85 interchange through Atlanta, as the region's efforts to woo and retain millennial talent becomes a priority.

That chase for millennial talent became a driving topic in Atlanta and other major metro areas as municipalities chased Amazon's second headquarters project. The emphasis on a pool of tech talent became the key factor in what the online retail giant ultimately decided: splitting HQ2 between Long Island City, New York, and Crystal City, Virginia.

The WSJ focused on three major plans in Atlanta: The $300M-plus Stitch plan in Downtown Atlanta, the 14th Street Midtown park project being pushed by Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy and a third $250M proposed park covering portions of Georgia 400 in Buckhead.

“We decided we needed to reconnect what the interstate disconnected,” Central Atlanta Progress President A.J. Robinson told the Journal. CAP is pushing the Stitch plan and is expected to release a feasibility study later this year.

These parks are known to add more green than just from grass and trees, as proven by the greenway over the Woodall Rodgers Freeway in Dallas. Opened in 2012, the $112M, 5.2-acre park sparked both commercial and residential development around it, according to the WSJ.

“Open space drives real estate values through the roof,” the president of San Diego-based landscape architecture firm OJB, James Burnett, told the WSJ.