Residents worried about destroying trees for parking deck - CBS46 News

'Save the Trees' movement fails, parking deck in Atlanta's Grant Park will move forward

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ATLANTA (CBS46) -

Update: A last ditch effort to revoke the city's construction permit failed Wednesday night.  The Tree Conservation Commission voted to allow the parking deck to be built by a vote of 4-2.

Those who are opposed to the plan argue the parking deck will increase traffic while cutting down very old trees in the center of the park.

"We have high rises being built on every square inch of the city. Air quality's going to suffer, don’t think we should encourage additional cars by building a massive 1,000 car parking lot," says Cindy Leake. 

The city council has voted seven times and held 43 meetings to come up with the plan for a $48 million parking deck. It’s mostly below ground with a green roof watered by capturing rain. The bonds raised to build it will be paid back by parking fees, perhaps $8-10, run by a combo of City Hall and the Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority.

Those details are likely confirmed, but a last battle is the 131 trees to be sacrificed to build it.

Pruned by Georgia Power, arborists say few are very healthy. Even the promise to replace them with Olmsted-favored new trees, inch for inch, is not selling.

A million dollars of the cost is from city art  bond funds. Opponents ask how can a parking deck qualify for art money? That complaint turned a story-and-a-half wall into a space for painting.

"Artists will be able to do like murals on it," says city council member Carla Smith. 

The building's skin will afford changing art exhibits. 

"It’s going to be, in my opinion, the nicest parking lot in Atlanta. So why are neighbors unhappy? Because we have to cut trees down."

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