City officials are eyeing acreage along the Chattahoochee for a possible park.

Sandy Springs city officials are looking over a potential site for a new riverfront park.

City and county officials and neighborhood representatives plan to tour about 25 acres of county-owned property off Riverside Drive to see whether the land would be an appropriate park site, City Councilwoman Karen Meinzen McEnerny said.

“I can see playgrounds and a pavilion and potentially another boat dock,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity to expand our park space if we can work out the details … significant details.”

Any development of the property for a park would require meetings with neighbors to discuss the plans, she said.

The land now is the site for a Fulton County sewage pump station, she said. The county purchased the property in the 1960s and used it for a sewage treatment plant, she said, and then converted the facility to a pump station when a larger plant was built nearby.

The property has 1,000 feet of frontage on the Chattahoochee River, she said, and access to Riverside Drive. Parts of the property have been graded, she said.

“It’s still a potential park site,” Meinzen McEnerny said. “We just don’t know if it’s the right thing for the neighborhood, the right thing for the city. We just don’t know if it’s a ‘win-win.’”

City Council members discussed the park idea during the March 15 council meeting.

“In general, we’re interested in any parkland we can get,” City Councilman Tibby DeJulio said.

Mayor Eva Galambos said city officials have not yet determined whether county officials would want to allow the city to develop a park on the land, what a park would cost and what kind of park would be appropriate in the area.

“I think we have a lot of questions,” the mayor said.

But Meinzen McEnerny and Councilman Chip Collins, who represents the area that includes the property, said the city should take a look at the land. Collins said he wanted to visit the property to see it first-hand,

“In concept, it could be a fantastic deal,” Collins said. “However, I’ve never even seen this thing.”

Collins said city staffers could confer with county officials while council members talk to residents of the area.

“I see us going down a parallel track, gauging the temperature of the neighbors to see if this is something they might want to pursue,” he said. “If they say, ‘No, we don’t want a park here,’ we’re done.”

Last year, the city opened Morgan Falls Overlook Park, the first park completely developed by the city. The park overlooks the Chattahoochee River and covers more than 30 acres, the city has said.

Meinzen McEnerny said she heard about the property before Sandy Springs incorporated as a city five years ago. At that time, it was on a list of county properties delivered to the people who were organizing the city.

City officials walked the property in 2006, she said, but at that time, the pump station was due to be renovated, so the city put the park idea on hold. The county completed the renovation last year, she said, so city officials are taking another look at the property.

“Everyone’s gathering information to see what the next steps might be,” Meinzen McEnerny said. “It’s really a beautiful piece of property.”

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.