Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail Gifts Demonstrate Commitment to Community Health
ATLANTA, June 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Building on the Atlanta BeltLine's significant momentum, Sarah and Jim Kennedy/PATH Foundation and Kaiser Permanente are each donating $2.5 million to the BeltLine Partnership Capital Campaign to support the building of the Eastside Trail along the Atlanta BeltLine's 22-mile corridor encircling the city's urban core.
"As the PATH Foundation nears is 20th anniversary, having built 150 miles of trails across Georgia, we are excited about our partnership with the Atlanta BeltLine and the Eastside Trail," said Jim Kennedy, chairman of Cox Enterprises, PATH foundation board member and co-chair of the Atlanta BeltLine campaign. "We have always wanted a trail like this in the City and this will give us a great trail that will be used and enjoyed by thousands of Atlantans each day."
Continuing its longtime support of the Atlanta BeltLine, the Kennedy/PATH Foundation contribution is matched by Kaiser Permanente as a tangible commitment to the long-term health of the community and to celebrate the organization's 25th anniversary. "PATH knows what profound impacts these trails have on physical activity and we are excited to connect with Kaiser to encourage healthy lifestyles through our joint investments," said Mr. Kennedy.
"One of Kaiser Permanente's core values is to improve the health of the community, as well as the health of our members," said Kaiser Permanente Georgia President, Peter Andruszkiewicz. "We are pleased to demonstrate our commitment to this in Atlanta by supporting the Atlanta BeltLine during our anniversary year."
More than 100,000 people live within half a mile of the Atlanta BeltLine, which connects 45 of the city's neighborhoods. According to a Health Impact Assessment conducted by the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2007, the Atlanta BeltLine's 1,300 acres of parks, 33 miles of trails, $45 million in streetscape and intersection improvements, and the expansion of transit creates the opportunity for vulnerable populations to become physically active. The redevelopment will give 11,000 residents direct access for the first time to a park, and it will connect an additional 127,000 people to transit. As a result, it will improve access to employment opportunities, services, healthy foods, and recreational facilities.
"The Atlanta BeltLine will provide access to community and health services in areas that have been previously underserved and will increase economic opportunities, enabling our citizens to lead healthier lives," said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. "The joint commitment by the Kennedys/PATH Foundation and Kaiser Permanente demonstrates the power of the public and private sectors working together to serve the community."
The BeltLine Partnership kicked off a $60 million capital campaign in 2007 to underwrite the early development of key parks and trail segments along the Atlanta BeltLine and to demonstrate the project's potential to transform Atlanta. The BeltLine Partnership has raised more than $35.7 million towards the goal from more than 50 donors, including lead gifts from many of Atlanta's largest foundations and corporations.
"These generous gifts from the Kennedys/PATH Foundation and Kaiser Permanente add to the significant momentum behind the public-private partnership that is moving the Atlanta BeltLine from vision to reality," said John Somerhalder, chairman of the board of the BeltLine Partnership. "A year from now, Atlantans will walk, jog and bike from Piedmont Park to Freedom Park, connecting to what will be the first new Atlanta BeltLine park to open – Historic Fourth Ward Park."
About the Atlanta BeltLine
The Atlanta BeltLine is a $2.8 billion redevelopment project that will provide a network of public parks, multi-use trails and transit along a historic 22-mile railroad corridor circling downtown and connecting many neighborhoods directly to each other. The Atlanta BeltLine is the most comprehensive economic development effort ever undertaken in the City of Atlanta and among the largest, most wide-ranging urban redevelopment projects currently underway in the United States. Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. (ABI), formed by the Atlanta Development Authority, is the entity tasked with planning and executing the implementation of the Atlanta BeltLine in partnership with other public and private organizations, including City of Atlanta departments. The BeltLine Partnership (BLP) is a non-profit organization committed to raising funds from private and philanthropic sources to support the Atlanta BeltLine, working with the community and partners to raise general awareness and support, and serving as a catalyst to mobilize resources to address social concerns. For more information on the Atlanta BeltLine, please visit www.BeltLine.org.
About the PATH Foundation
The PATH Foundation was founded in 1991 with a vision to build a network of greenway trails in and around Atlanta for commuting and recreating. Now preparing to celebrate its 20th anniversary, PATH has evolved from a spirited start-up organization to a nationally recognized model for trail-building success. PATH's trails connect residential and commercial centers and provide safe places for walking, jogging, biking and "neighboring." Today, 150 miles of PATH trails traverse the state of Georgia, stretching from the farmlands at the Alabama state line in Polk County, through the City of Atlanta to the granite outcroppings of Arabia Mountain Park in southeastern DeKalb County, and along the Georgia coast on St. Simons Island. For more information, please visit www.pathfoundation.org.
About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is Georgia's largest not-for-profit health plan. Its mission is to provide high quality, affordable health care services to improve the health of its members and the communities it serves. Kaiser Permanente serves more than 230,000 members in a 28-county service area in metro-Atlanta with care focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists, and team of heath care providers. Expert and caring medical teams are supported by industry-leading technology and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the art delivery, and world-class chronic disease management. Nationally, Kaiser Permanente is recognized as one of America's leading health care providers, serving more than 8.6 million members in nine states and the District of Columbia. For more information, visit www.kp.org.
SOURCE Kaiser Permanente