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Aquarium area needs sprucing

Guest donaltopablo

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Guest donaltopablo

The article mostly discusses sprucing up the area and infrastructure that will be around the new Aquarium. That is midly interesting (and not really new news). However, what I do find interesting is this articles mentions the possibility of moving Sci-Trek to the area around the Aquarium (excellent idea!) and the delay in the move of the World of Coke (honestly, I don't really care. I'd rather see Sci-Trek and a couple of other more valuable desintations in that spot, but that's probably wishful thinking).

Aquarium area needs sprucing


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

While construction crews vigorously dig holes and pour concrete for the Georgia Aquarium, very little is being done to improve access to the attraction that is predicted to bring 2.2 million visitors to the heart of downtown Atlanta.

The state has not provided construction funding for improving a key east-west road that could serve the aquarium and other destinations such as CNN Center and the Georgia World Congress Center.

Previous Gov. Roy Barnes had raised hopes that construction would start immediately with $13.3 million he provided the project in a proposed bond package. Gov. Sonny Perdue, instead, has provided $1.1 million for engineering for the project.

Meantime, a committee coordinated by Central Atlanta Progress, a downtown business group, is studying potential improvements to the road and its corridor. Last week, planners released some heady preliminary findings that could take 20 years to create.

One of the more fantastic recommendations is to move the SciTrek Science & Technology Museum to a new building near Centennial Olympic Park. The current building on Piedmont Avenue would somehow be converted into a private school to serve the children of families expected to move to new downtown condos. Another suggestion is to reroute exit and entrance ramps to the Downtown Connector. Still another is to replace the current hodgepodge of parking decks and surface lots along the Jones-Simpson-Alexander corridor with a pleasing collection of shops, parks, condos and buildings for small and inexpensive offices.

And, not surprising, there's no money earmarked for any of these grand ideas.

This rate of progress is not what Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus had in mind when he urged the state and city to do all they could to support his $200 million gift of an aquarium. Marcus has continued to lobby heavily for greater state participation.

Speaking at the groundbreaking celebration in May, Marcus said, "We're going to have to make some very strong investments in infrastructure."

More recently, he has complained privately that the state is not doing enough for the road improvements. And he is concerned that the planned World of Coca-Cola will be a dusty construction site when visitors are trying to get to his new aquarium.

The Coke museum initially was slated to open in 2005 about the same time as the aquarium. But Coke pushed the project back and has yet to name an architect, a suggestion that Coke President Doug Daft is not racing to relocate the current museum from Underground Atlanta, where it ranks as the second-most-visited corporate museum in the country, behind one for the Hershey candy company in Pennsylvania.

Perdue's chief of staff, Eric Tanenblatt, says the governor is committed to helping the aquarium and Coke museum. Perdue did include $1.1 million for engineering and right-of-way acquisition in the bond package he announced this month, Tanenblatt notes.

"The JSA [Jones-Simpson-Alexander] funding is for engineering, and once that is done we can come back and look at other funding," Tanenblatt says. "The governor has never said anything that is not in total support of that project."

The city is doing its part to get the utilities in place in a timely fashion.

Atlanta changed its usual procedures to coordinate the relocation of water and sewer pipes, power lines, gas lines and telephone lines.

"We're seeing how much of the work we can do in proper sequence," says Robert Shelor, the city's capital projects officer. "What we don't want to see is the typical situation where a road was just paved and someone has to cut it to work on underground utilities. It's a complicated scale of utilities that we've worked with around the aquarium."

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World of Coke- overpriced and underwhelming.

The best news for downtown and midtown is the continuing rise in residences and retail.

But Perdue doesn't seem to have a clue.

Sooner or Later the state will be forced to invest in ATL.

This city is the only reason GA isn't still backwoods.

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Guest donaltopablo

I wouldn't mind seeing the state continue to invest in the Savannah area. I really would love to see GA have another significant city other than Atlanta, Savannah would be my choice. Maybe Macon a very distant third.

World of Coke is pretty unimpressive, I'm glad the one time I went it was free.

I do think they should give ATL it's far share of money, or better yet, just bring some vision back to the metro area. This seems to be the biggest thing lacking. I know resources are a little more constrained than they once were, but even when money was more readily available, the area lacked vision for what they wanted it to be and how they wanted it to develop. Very disappointing since that to me, is all that is really seperating Atlanta for being a truly amazing city.

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Lack of vision- couldn't have said it better

ATL's lack of vision is its biggest problem

Example1: renaming the airport ( degrades both mayors )

Example2: the 17th street bridge- the yellow paint saves it from 100% boring

Example3: the razing of Armour Dr area for servicing MARTA trains.

Example4 : the Olympics-it took vision to get them- with the exception of

Turner Field and Centennial Park- they just hung plastic on

everything- beautiful tree lined Walton street was a huge block long Budweiser tent, totally destroying the urban feel. The whole thing felt like a giant flea market. And now the beautiful view from Centennial Park is being blocked by towers.

If you think I sound down on ATL now- I'm visiting a friend in Chicago this week and I'll be worse when I get back. Which I guess isn't fair considering Chicago is the best city in the US. ( i think)

Anyway, there are many more examples.

If the Beltline happens I'll totally love ATL.

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