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ATLANTA-Former President Jimmy Carter, Gov. Roy Barnes and Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell cut the ceremonial ribbon on the $2.5-million, 207-acre Freedom Park, the largest project of its kind in the United States.

The park rolls through several of the city’s oldest intown neighborhoods, just east of town. The ribbon-cutting marks the official opening of the final two trails running north and south. The east-west trail has been open for six years to cyclists, walkers, runners and inline skaters.

The city gave $1 million to develop the new trails and another $1 million was raised in private donations through the Freedom Park Conservancy. The state anted up a half-million for maintenance.

Freedom Park was born out of controversy after 500 homes along the path were razed to build a highway connector through the area to the Carter Center. After years of fighting, embattled neighborhoods, the state Department of Transportation and the city came up with a compromise and built a green-lined, four-lane road that connects the Carter Center to Downtown.

The remaining land is now Freedom Park. Tracts lining the greenway have become attractive to housing developers who are building single-family homes and apartments in the area.

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