Downtown Atlanta, which convention planners have pegged as dirty in surveys, is in the middle of a $10 million-plus makeover.
Central Atlanta Progress is installing decorative gates around tree boxes, replacing uneven sidewalks, restoring public art and repairing the fountain at Margaret Mitchell Square.
To improve traffic flow, the group has upgraded pedestrian signage and added or updated street signals and re-striped car lanes to make driving easier.
Money for the work comes from the downtown booster group, as well as the city, state and Atlanta Downtown Improvement District.
"Ideally most of the projects will do a couple of things," Jennifer Ball, vice president of planning and economic development for CAP. "It will increase public safety by also addressing the perception that downtown is dirty."
A top priority has been to install the decorative planters along Peachtree Street to discourage pedestrians from crossing between intersections and improve safety, Ball said. Police barriers had been used to force pedestrians to cross at lights, but the result was ugly.
Downtown's image is important to metro Atlanta's $11 billion convention and tourism business. As cities across the United States add new buildings to the glut of meetings facilities nationwide -- despite a shrinking customers base -- it becomes more important that Atlanta reduce liabilities, experts say.