He envisioned a public park, one that would become part of anambitious plan for the city called the Beltline. The Beltline is a22-mile loop of historic railroad that encircles Downtown andMidtown. It will connect 45 in-town neighborhoods with parks,transit and trails for commuters, bicyclists and pedestrians. In2005, the city approved $1.7 billion in tax-increment financing forthe project.

According to those involved with the project, it will not onlyincrease the livability of the city, but will also spur futureeconomic development. "Great park developments increase the valueof property around it and encourage development," says Garvin,president and CEO of Alex Garvin & Associates in New York City."It becomes a magnet for developers who see parks as a greatasset."

Garvin, a Yale professor for 40 years, became involved with theBeltline in 2004 when the city's Trust for Public Land commissionedhim to study greenspace opportunities along the Beltline corridor.His study, called "The Beltline Emerald Necklace: Atlanta's NewPublic Realm", concluded that a connected park, trail and transitsystem along the Beltline was achievable and outlined a proposalfor its realization. Garvin explains that the term Emerald Necklacerefers to the Beltline as being a necklace with the parks being thejewels on the necklace.

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