By Amy Wenk
Sandy Springs’ newest recreation area is scheduled to open in early July, according to a city spokeswoman.
Morgan Falls Overlook Park features a boat dock, playground and historic chimney.
City leaders are considering adding hiking trails and improving Morgan Falls Road.
At a March 16 Sandy Springs City Council meeting, Linda Bain, executive director of the Sandy Springs Conservancy, presented a plan to add hiking trails along the bluff at Overlook Park.
“It’s quite spectacular,” Bain said of the view of the Chattahoochee River from the bluff.
The conservancy has offered to hire a trail design firm to research, design and construct the paths. Bain said funding would come from grant money.
The path has not been laid, but Bain said the trails would encircle the steep area between Overlook Park and the Georgia Power Co. hydroelectric plant at the end of Morgan Falls Road. Hikers, she said, could look north for beautiful views of Bull Sluice Lake. The path would follow the remnants of a camp road used when the Morgan Falls Dam was built between 1902 and 1904.
Bain said trails would be established by clearing and packing the soil, giving park visitors a rustic, natural experience. She hopes to have a trail finished by July, when the park opens.
“I’m delighted that we are going to have trails going up the hill,” Mayor Eva Galambos said in an interview later.
Galambos said she would like the trails to be expanded to connect to the Laurels at Morgan Falls apartment complex on Morgan Falls Road, which has existing trails to the river.
City Council members discussed improving Morgan Falls Road at a March 2 meeting. The road provides access to the Overlook Park, Morgan Falls Athletic Fields and the temporary dog park. It is too narrow for two large cars to pass.
In addition, water and sewer installation at Overlook Park has damaged the road, and heavy rains have eroded steep slopes along the shoulder.
The city’s Department of Public Works staff offered short and long-term road fixes. A short-term option is to correct the road damage caused by construction. A long-term project would be to widen the road and include sidewalks and bike paths.
But since the road meanders through steep terrain, a widening project could become very costly.
Public Works staff will continue to explore options for Morgan Falls Road and will bring cost estimates to council in the coming weeks.
“What we want is a showplace,” Dist. 5 Councilman Tibby DeJulio said. Morgan Falls, he said, should become a “first-class park and recreational facility.”