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Devoting our August issue to the big ideas that will shape Atlanta’s future posed a bit of a timing problem for us. A print magazine is still beholden to a production schedule that, in the age of nanosecond news, is simply prehistoric. For instance, I’m writing this on July 3, but subscribers won’t be reading it for at least another two weeks. And the issue won’t be on the newsstand until closer to August 1. Somewhere in there—well, on July 31, specifically—voters across metro Atlanta will decide if we should pay another penny in sales tax to fund $6 billion in transportation projects across the region.
Whatever your feelings on the referendum, the results of the vote will inevitably impact some of the projects we highlight in this issue, directly or indirectly. The BeltLine comes immediately to mind: If the referendum passes, there will be money to extend the Atlanta streetcar to opposite sides of the BeltLine. But even if we vote no, the BeltLine will not die. And in fact, all of the projects that we’ve named inaugural Groundbreakers are either well on their way, or they’ve already arrived. I’m thinking about Rashid Nuri and the Truly Living Well urban farm. Every Friday afternoon for the past few weeks, I’ve driven east on Auburn Avenue and taken a left on Hilliard. As I drive up the hill, what emerges on my right is nothing short of amazing: eight-foot-high sunflowers towering over countless raised beds where cucumbers and kale and tomatoes and squash are growing, customers dropping by to purchase fresh vegetables, and children learning the pleasure and power that come from growing your own food.
I’m thinking also about Ponce City Market. When I moved to Atlanta a dozen years ago, I used to go to City Hall East occasionally, sometimes to pick up a police report, sometimes to work out at Lee Haney’s gym. If you drive past the building every day, it’s easy to forget how simply massive the place is. Now that Jamestown Properties is renovating those 2 million square feet, the project is poised to transform that neighborhood.
Truly Living Well and Ponce City Market couldn’t be more different in scope or subject, but they—and indeed, all of our Groundbreakers—share a trait that unites them: They each stand to make our city better. And that’s something that we can all get behind, no matter how you vote(d) on July 31.