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GUCA Membership Hits the Slopes

Thu February 16, 2006 - Southeast Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

Georgia Utility Contractors Association Inc. (GUCA) hosted its 2006 Winter Management Conference Jan. 14 to 18.

More than 100 guests attended this event held at the Steamboat Grand Resort in Steamboat Springs, CO.

Plenty of snow welcomed enthusiastic GUCA members as they arrived for the event. In addition to a number of activities such as skiing and snowmobiling, members and guests enjoyed educational sessions and presentations.

Public Service Commission Chairman Doug Everett addressed the group on one evening. Everett spoke about damage prevention in Georgia and highlighted the tiered penalties for cities and counties. He also talked about the large project language being developed by the PSC Advisory Committee. He then discussed the work done by the PSC to help contractors stay in compliance with the GUFPA Laws.

On Jan. 16, Ryan Gravel, son of GUCA member Allan Gravel of Willow Construction Inc., led a presentation on the Atlanta Beltline Project explaining the idea that the creative design of infrastructure projects can direct private investment to accomplish public goals. Gravel envisioned the reuse of some underused freight railroads that circle Atlanta’s central city. This idea evolved into the Atlanta Beltline, a 22-mi. transit greenway that reuses these existing railroad rights-of-way as a wide linear park with streetcars, bicycle and pedestrian paths connecting more than 40 diverse neighborhoods. It organizes adjacent abandoned industrial land for transit-oriented development, expands transit service within the urban core, and connects various parts of an emerging regional trail system. The beltline proposal takes advantage of Atlanta’s in-town population growth, creating smart new districts for more than 100,000 new residents and improved quality of life for hundreds of thousands more.

Beginning in the summer of 2001, Gravel’s beltline thesis was ushered to the forefront of transportation projects in the region by Atlanta City Council President Cathy Woolard. Working as a volunteer with Woolard, Gravel helped spread the idea, presenting to a wide array of community groups, business groups and other organizations.

In spring 2005, Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin created a new organization called the Beltline Partnership, headed by Ray Weeks, a prominent local developer and businessman. She charged the partnership with creating an organizational structure and strategic plan for the implementation of the beltline. To consolidate efforts and strengthen both organizations, Friends of the Belt Line merged with the new Beltline Partnership and Gravel continues to work full-time on this plan for Atlanta’s future.

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