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|The site below was placed online in July & August, 1996, and has largely been left in its original form|
When you live in Atlanta for over a decade, you become a bit immune to all the construction that goes on in this boom town. The only constant is change....one day there's a Burger King on the corner. Three weeks later, it's another damn Starbuck's. You see such a volume of growth/building that when others are shocked at how different the city looks since their last visit, you think, "So What? It's Atlanta....where the state bird is the crane."
Well, the past two years of Olympic related construction has boggled this Atlantan's mind. Estimates are there's been between 3 and 4 Billion dollars (yes, Billion) of it. About half is the building of venues and the Olympic Village. The rest is everyone who ever dreamed they have the capacity to earn a dollar taking the Olympics as an excuse to start/expand/franchise a business. And all of this contruction is occurring.....on my route to work....or so it seems.
While the Department of Transportation was repaving every mile of interstate inside the perimeter (I-285 to outsiders), the City of Atlanta was repaving most every major street in town, as well as building the largest urban park created in this century (Centennial Park, pictured at left). Throw this in with 3 or 4 billon of "off-road" construction, and the impact on traffic has been enormous. Most Atlantans weren't aware that cleaning house and preparing for two or three million visitors would be quite so.....intensive.
Still, it's quite exciting, especially now that everything is coming together. It was just a few short months ago that I shot the scene at right, inside the new Olympic Stadium. It was hard to grasp that the place I was standing would soon be filled with some of the best athletes on this planet. I got a flash of hurdlers jumping over sawhorses. But, amazingly enough for such a huge project, everything was completed on time, within budget, and without digging deep in taxpayer's pockets.
And if you are in any part of the construction industry, it's sorta like the fishin' story...."Boy, you shoulda been here yesterday." There were folks holding out baskets of money, saying, "Puh-lease! Just build me somethin' I can cram people into long enough to pick their pockets for three weeks." There have been lots of smiles under those hard hats.
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All text & images at this web site are ©1996-2001 Reid Stott, and may not be reproduced in any way without permission.