The Chastain Park Conservancy says the city of Atlanta recently put the organization closer to its goal of widening a precariously narrow sidewalk along Powers Ferry Road.
Nearly 500,000 joggers, bikers and walkers annually use the sidewalk, part of a 3-mile PATH Foundation trail. The trail is 10 feet wide in most places, but narrows to 4 feet along Powers Ferry Road.
There was $1 million in funding for the expansion in the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax referendum, but voters in 2012 overwhelmingly rejected T-SPLOST.
At a Sept. 16 Atlanta City Council meeting, council members unanimously approved appropriating $1 million from a trust fund for park maintenance. City Councilwoman Yolanda Adrean said the trust fund receives money from a portion of the ticket sales at the Chastain Amphitheater.
Adrean said the money will go toward fixing the Powers Ferry portion of the trail. She said people who have studied it are surprised the narrow sidewalk hasn’t resulted in more pedestrian accidents along Powers Ferry.
“I was walking [along the trail] with someone one time. I got caught up in someone’s dog leash and actually fell. That happens,” Adrean said.
Rosa McHugh, director of development at Chastain Park Conservancy, said the organization will need to raise an additional $1.2 million to complete the project. The conservancy hopes to break ground on the project in 2014.
She said the city’s authorization of the funds will make it easier to convince donors to contribute.
“It’s fantastic because no major donor is going to give you money unless they believe the project is going to move forward,” McHugh said.
McHugh said the neighborhood has been “really fortunate” that there haven’t been any pedestrians hit along Powers Ferry Road.
Adrean said she’s happy with the design of the proposed sidewalk expansion.
“The design is beautiful,” she said. “It uses most of the existing wall. The path is a little more meandering.”