Opinion: Decision nears on Gulch plan

As this day’s overall package of editorials and opinion pieces shows, critical topics now rest before the Atlanta City Council. And Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is a key player in a pair of proposals being urged forward to quick action by entities, including one detailed on another page today by this newspaper’s Editorial board.

In terms of dollars involved, the latest proposal to make something of the underutilized giant hole in downtown known as the Gulch is impossible to ignore. As both writers elsewhere today attest, the Gulch has been a challenge for Atlanta for many decades.

» Opinion: Atlanta should not pass on once-in-a-lifetime opportunity

Anyone who’s crossed downtown bridges and looked down instantly knows why the parcels of weed-choked land are called the Gulch. As earlier development lifted downtown Atlanta streets and building entrances above a busy network of railroad lines, the Gulch came into being.

As early as this Monday, the Council may consider a large package of public incentives to facilitate a private developer’s redevelopment project in the Gulch. The amounts of public money that could be offered could approach $2 billion over time.

As we’ve written here recently, the multibillion-dollar Gulch plan is worthy of careful deliberation, both because it involves a substantial use of public money and it has great potential to remake downtown and adjacent neighborhoods.

» Opinion: Council should take time to get gulch deal right

It’s been also said that a major corporation is eyeing the Gulch as a possible relocation site. It’s been suggested too that the Gulch is in play as part of the secretive effort to lure Amazon’s second headquarters here.

The importance of all those factors makes it all the more important that the Council give due and careful consideration to the proposal. A covered Gulch could be a great plus to Atlanta and beyond, but the project should be worth its public cost. Weighing that is the Council’s rightful role.

Andre Jackson, for the Editorial Board.

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