A Plan of Improvement

The Fight for Progress

"A new spirit of optimism is in the air."

“The Plan of Improvement has unshackled our town, given it new life and hope. A new spirit of optimism is in the air. True, there are still those who for selfish reasons will try to impede our progress and place obstacles in our path, but we are confident that the great majority of our loyal citizens will approve what we have done, and will support us as long as we honestly and efficiently perform our many and arduous duties in giving both old and new citizens the many services they deserve as fellow Atlantans.”

Editor's Note: The excerpt above comes from Hartsfield’s January 1952 address to the Atlanta City Council. In this address, Hartsfield discussed the progress Atlanta had already made in the last few years and the progress Atlanta would make in the coming years. In 1952, Hartsfield successfully campaigned for the passage of his Plan of Improvement that tripled the size of Atlanta from 37 to 128 square miles and increased the city’s population by a 100,000 people.

To accommodate the city’s increased size, Hartsfield advocated for a substantial expansion of the expressway system, the construction of several city parks, the creation of off-street parking in downtown Atlanta, and the building of the Chastain amphitheater and the Buford Dam. Hartsfield’s focus on improving the city’s infrastructure ensured Atlanta would develop into an economic powerhouse becoming a center of employment and trade in the southeast.