Rails to Trails

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A few years ago, the new "beachfront" property in Atlanta was along 22 miles of railway corridors that circled the city.

"Property values increased almost overnight," said Jim Langford, principal creator of Atlanta's Beltline initiative and president of MillionMile Greenway. "As soon as the Trust for Public Land announced where the new park were going to be, developers immediately began scouring locations around those parks.

"A market was created for property that previously had been old warehouses and abandoned lots. A lot of them were eyesores and had been on the market for 15 years," he said.

Langford was the featured speaker at ULI Memphis' Transformative Roles of Greenways event last night at CBU. Other panelists included Shelby Farms Conservancy's Laura Adams, the RDC's Benny Lendermon, and Kathleen Williams with Tennessee Parks and Greenways.

The Beltline project, which took abandoned railway corridors and transformed them into greenways and touches 47 neighborhoods, proves that green space adds economic value to a community. But that's not all.

"No matter what lens you look through," Langford said, "people see this as a success."

To read more, visit Mary Cashiola's In the Bluff blog.

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