|Building at the base of the WSB-TV Tower (Marc Merlin)
Many Atlanta residents who arrived here in the last twenty years or so may not be aware of the critical role that the WSB-TV Tower played in keeping a stretch of interstate highway from taking over the land that The Path and Freedom Park occupy today.
Original plans had called for the complex that includes the Jimmy Carter Library and Museum and the Carter Center (completed in 1986) to connect with the rest of Atlanta by an interstate spur, in part elevated, which was to run to the downtown connector in one direction and to Ponce de Leon Avenue near its intersection with Clifton Road in the other.
|WSB TV tower with guy wires (Marc Merlin)
By the early 1990s most of the legal obstacles to the original project had been cleared, but its backers realized that time was running short if the city was to be fully prepared to handle the crowds expected for the 1996 Olympic Games. So, believing that any sort of road was better than none, they relented and agreed to an alternate plan, the shorter, street-grade parkway that, along with The Path and Freedom Park, we use and enjoy today.
The seemingly pointless tunnel that bestrides the parkway just south of the Carter Center stands as a reminder of this, the best-known of Atlanta's "freeway revolts," and as an ever-present defender against winter ice falling from the guy wires of the WSB-TV Tower above.