By Amy Wenk
A new park in Sandy Springs is coming to life.
A groundbreaking ceremony will be held for Abernathy Linear Park on April 25 from 2 to 4 p.m. near the corner of Abernathy and Wright roads. Parking will be in the parking lot of the old Sports Authority at the corner of Roswell and Abernathy roads.
The park will occupy the approximately 25 acres of land along Abernathy Road, from its intersection at River Valley Road to just before its intersection with Roswell Road. The skinny parcel spans about a mile of Abernathy Road and will be on average 200 feet deep on each side of the street, said city of Sandy Springs transportation engineer Greg Ramsey.
The estimated $15 million project will be constructed in phases over several years as money becomes available, Ramsey said.
The first phase should begin this summer, Ramsey said. The city of Sandy Springs allocated $750,000 in its 2010 capital projects budget to launch construction of the park.
The first step “is to make sure we have some protection and privacy,” Ramsey said.
He said work crews will build fencing along the perimeter of the park property to the north and south of Abernathy Road, but only in the area between Brandon Mill and Wright roads.
After the park boundaries are established with fencing, Ramsey said, thick trees and shrubs will be planted along the border to serve as a buffer for adjacent property owners.
Meanwhile, the Georgia Department of Transportation will continue widening Abernathy Road from two lanes to four lanes. The $20.8 million project, started last April, will also construct bike lanes, sidewalks and a raised median.
The second phase of the Abernathy Linear Park should be paid for with a $700,000 grant from the state transportation department, Ramsey said. That money, he said, will pay for landscaping, a gravel path and park elements like benches, parking spots and entrances.
Ramsey said the hope is the first two phases will be complete when the state’s widening project on Abernathy Road concludes about June 30, 2012.
An advisory committee of 15 residents and city officials has met once a month for years to develop the park plans.
A master plan was devised by consultants PBS&J and adopted by city officials in September 2007. Those plans are available on the city’s Web site, www.sandyspringsga.org.