The organization tasked with revitalizing the Chattahoochee Riverfront has a new leader at the helm.

Kwanza Hall, a former congressman and Atlanta city councilman, has been named managing partner and CEO of Chattahoochee Trails.

Chattahoochee Trails is a new organization dedicated to providing water harvesting and recreation opportunities along Atlanta’s underutilized Chattahoochee River.

“I’ve always loved innovation and technology,” Hall said. “Nature and ecology have always been close to my heart, so this initiative is a natural progression from elected office to public service as a private citizen on behalf of the city I love.”

born and raised

Born and raised in Atlanta, Hall is the son of the late Leon W. Hall, the youngest lieutenant of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and has dedicated his life to public service.

For 15 years, Hall served on the Atlanta City Council and the Atlanta School Board. As Councilor for District 2, Hall was recognized for his leadership in many areas, including economic inclusion, affordable housing, urban planning, and arts and culture.

During his career, he has held many respected positions, including:

  • Vice Chairman of the Audit Committee of the Atlanta Board of Education
  • Atlanta Development Authority Board Member
  • Member of the City of Atlanta Pension Board
  • Chairman of the Atlanta City Council International Relations Committee
  • Fulton County Government Lead for New Technology Division
  • Vice President of Technology for GoodWorks International
  • Business Development Director for MACTEC Engineering and Consulting
  • Maxwell Stamp Senior Advisor

Hall was also a member of the German Marshall Fund and several US State Department programs.

He has served on numerous nonprofit boards, including the World Affairs Council, Leadership Atlanta, National Center for Civil and Human Rights, and Tenet Healthcare/Atlanta Medical Center.

In 2012, Georgia State University presented Hall with the Pioneer Award, its highest honor for his leadership in promoting arts and culture in downtown Atlanta.

In 2011, Park Pride of Atlanta honored Hall for his government leadership in defending parks and green spaces.

Most recently, Hall served as the United States Representative for Georgia’s 5th District, completing the term of his mentor, the late Congressman John Lewis, in the 116th Congress.

During Hall’s brief stay in Congress—only 33 days—he was able to introduce six bills, including:

  • $55 million request for transit-oriented development on Atlanta’s south side
  • Co-sponsored 14 additional bills
  • Plea on the floor of Congress 18 times
  • Vote 25 times for over $3 trillion in combined COVID Relief, Omnibus and Military budgets

“I am delighted to bring all my experience in government and the private sector to a project of this magnitude. I am also very excited to work alongside our Mayor, the Atlanta City Council, the State of Georgia, and the environmental community to bring Chattahoochee Trails to fruition.

The Future of Public Spaces in Metro Atlanta

Before appointing its new CEO, Chattahoochee Trails presented an ambitious proposal to establish a water center along the river.

The Chattahoochee Trails Water Hub proposal, which was released in October 2021, outlines potential blue and green infrastructure and public space at the confluence of Proctor Creek and the Chattahooche River.

The proposal sets out four key objectives:

  • Restore the floodplain
  • Create an innovative infrastructure
  • Foster educational experiences
  • Invite surrounding communities

With Hall now at the helm, Chattahoochee Trails will move forward with the project.

“Atlanta never had a riverfront — although we do have a river,” Hall said. “Cities around the world have transformed their shorelines into historic attractions for visitors and residents, and we can do the same here in Atlanta through the innovative use of our blue and green infrastructure.”

Major environmental groups, including the Trust for Public Land, endorsed the proposal.

The land trust organization said the project “will help connect Northwest Atlanta, including low-resource communities, to the river. Too many Atlanta residents, especially people of color, n Don’t have easy access to the Chattahoochee, and creating a new public space along the river in Atlanta will help address this inequity.

The Trust for Public Land also noted the significance of the water hub site because of its location, “which is also the terminus of what will be the Proctor Creek Trail (linking MARTA’s Bankhead station and the Atlanta belt line).”

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