by Rob Knight
November 30, 2022
The HUB404 Conservancy has made several moves in 2022 to get the 9-acre greenspace project closer to breaking ground, and now they are actively seeking funding from private donors. The “Gimmie Four” campaign was announced by HUB404 Conservancy Executive Director Anthony Rodriguez on November 29. This new initiative encourages donations as small as $4.04 in exchange for HUB404 swag. The 15-member board of the non-profit HUB404 Conservancy has pledged to match donated funds up to $50,000.
Plans for a park over Ga 400 between Lenox Road and Peachtree Road have been percolating since 2015, when the Buckhead CID contributed $10,000 for a feasibility study of the project. The project was gaining traction and donations until the COVID-19 pandemic stalled HUB404 (and many other projects worldwide) in 2020. If fundraising goes as planned, HUB404 hopes to begin the initial engineering stages over Lenox Road sometime in 2023.
Hiring Executive Director Rodriguez in May of 2022 was a sign that the HUB404 Conservancy is working hard to push the project beyond the planning stages. Rodriguez cofounded the Aurora Theater in Lawerenceville, and currently serves as the president and CEO. His experience running the state’s second largest nonprofit theater company will certainly be an asset to the HUB404 project.
Park Projects Seek Public Funds
Funding for HUB404 will come from private and public funds, including $170 million in public funding. Competition for federal and state funds is generally fierce among citywide projects. In this case there are two other projects in the city with very similar goals. The other two proposals, the Midtown Connector in midtown and the Stitch downtown, could benefit from federal funds that HUB404 wouldn’t qualify for.
As the AJC reported earlier this year, President Biden’s infrastructure plan includes $20 billion to “reconnect neighborhoods cut off by historic investments (in infrastructure).” Highway construction in downtown and midtown Atlanta in the 1950’s and 60’s leveled homes and businesses, and severed intown communities. The Midtown Connector project and the Stitch both seek to reconnect streets and neighborhoods that were cut by the construction of I-75/I-85. A fact that makes them prime candidates for this specific infrastructure investment.
Midtown Connector Project
The Midtown Connector is an ambitious project to build a 25-acre park over I-75/I-85 between North Avenue and 10th Street. In addition to parks, pedestrian walkways, and an amphitheater, the Midtown Connector would reconnect streets that were severed by the construction of the interstate through the city. The project has secured $100 million in private funding as of September 2022, and sources say initial construction could begin in 2023.