A decade-long effort by residents and city officials to get funding for an extension of Moores Mill Road still hangs in the balance even after a “yes” vote by the Atlanta City Council at its June 16 meeting.
The road extension is needed for a mixed-used project that would bring a Publix supermarket to the corner of Moores Mill and Bolton roads on the site of an abandoned shopping center. Residents have declared the northwest Atlanta community a “food desert” since the closest grocery store is a Kroger in Smyrna.
The Atlanta City Council voted to provide $800,000 to help complete the project since federal dollars for the extension are being held up in Congress, which has not reauthorized a transportation bill. Invest Atlanta, the city’s economic development arm, has already committed $500,000 to the project.
But Mayor Kasim Reed could veto the City Council’s funding authorization.
City Councilmember Felicia Moore had ushered through the ordinance to use money from the city’s transportation impact fee fund before the developer walked away, but wound up voting against her own legislation when an amendment was added by Councilmember Keisha Lance Bottoms.
Bottoms’ amendment allows all the City Council members to dip into the transportation impact fee fund account for projects in their own districts. The council was warned that spreading the unallocated impact fee funding to all the districts was not allowed under current city guidelines and could face a legal challenge.
While the $800,000 was ultimately approved in a 10-5 vote, Moore voted nay because she did not want to open the city up to lawsuits.
Edens, a South Carolina-based development company, is ready to move forward with the $40 million Moores Mill project, which would include a 45,000-square-foot Publix.