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BOC authorizes airport-area beautification agreement

The Clayton County Board of Commissioners approved an agreement with the Georgia Department of Transportation, on Tuesday, that will allow the county to begin landscaping work on the Charles W. Grant Parkway exit ramp, off Interstate 75-North.

The work is designed to beautify the exit ramp as part of a massive redevelopment project in the Mountain View area of Clayton County. County documents show that Clayton officials are working to create a mixed-use district, which would include hotels, offices and attractions at this exit. This is the same area where the future, permanent home of the National Museum of Commercial Aviation is slated to be built.

The exit ramp project is specifically intended to tie into Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport’s new Maynard H. Jackson, Jr., International Terminal, which is expected to open at that exit in spring 2012, according to county Economic Development Director Grant Wainscott.

Airport officials are already working to improve the landscape on the opposite side of the interstate, at the exit, he said.

“We felt like we needed to do something to match what the airport was doing, so it’s not overgrown shrubs, and trees, and nothing nice when people get off the interstate at that exit [from the northbound lanes], and then all nice, and shiny, once they cross over the interstate,” Wainscott said.

The county is looking to spend $994,000 to do beautification work at the exit, including landscaping and grading work, and the installation of decorative fencing, 2,200 feet of sidewalks, decorative lighting, and streetscape planters. The county received a $300,000 federal Transportation Enhancement grant, which calls for 20 percent local matching funds, to help pay for the project, documents show.

Wainscott said the memorandum of understanding with the state transportation department was needed to be able to actually spend the grant funds. The balance of the bill for the beautification work will come from Tax Allocation District funds, according to county documents.