By Amy Wenk
amywenk@reporternewspapers.net

Sandy Springs Police Officer Tim Burrell visits ‘Tent City,’ a narrow strip of land where at least three people live in makeshift tents off the shoulder of I-285 east before the Roswell Road/Sandy Springs exit

You have probably driven past “Tent City” but didn’t notice.

Just off the shoulder of I-285 east before the Roswell Road/Sandy Springs exit is a narrow strip of land where at least three people live in three makeshift tents. A white tarp is just barely visible to eastbound motorists through the trees.

Sandy Springs Police discovered Tent City about five months ago. The department now is coordinating with state transportation officials to remove the people and their homes in May, said Officer Tim Burrell.

“That’s kind of an eyesore for everybody,” he said. “You just want to get that area cleaned up.”

To access the hidden parcel, you must climb through a hole in the fence by the dumpsters behind Sierra Place Apartments on Northwood Drive. There is a thin, worn path up the slope and to the left that leads to Tent City.

The area is full of empty beer cans, garbage bags and plastic containers. You might see some freshly-opened mail or a child’s backpack.

Burrell said police believe Tent City is the home of at least three people — two males and a female — in their late 20s to early 30s.

Tent City sits on right-of-way owned by the Georgia Department of Transportation, so Sandy Springs police have had no authority to remove the people, tents and trash from the property.

In recent discussions, the state transportation officials they would send prison work crews and a truck to aid the city in cleaning up the area the first week of May, Burrell said.

He said a deacon at Holy Spirit Catholic Church maybe trying to assist the three residents of Tent City, who will soon be displaced.

Sandy Springs Police plan to work with the Georgia Department of Transportation to clean up ‘Tent City.’

But city and state officials will not offer any help.

“They’ll probably find another place in the woods to live, because they are down on their luck and they have no place to go,” Burrell said.