PATH400 project will create several new neighborhood parks in Buckhead.
PATH400 plans include creating several new neighborhood parks, such as this one, in Buckhead.

Plans for expansions of PATH400 through Buckhead now feature two more small parks, adding pockets of public green space to an area that once had relatively little.

The two parks total about 3 acres. They join a .6-acre park on Old Ivy that also is included in PATH400 plans.

One of the proposed green spaces combines an old family cemetery with a former school site no longer needed by the Atlanta Public Schools, said Denise Starling, executive director of Livable Buckhead, which is coordinating work on the PATH400 multi-use trail and park network. The school system has agreed to sell the “remnant property” to the city for use as a park, Starling told directors of the Buckhead Community Improvement District during their April 15 meeting.

The other small park, on the south end of PATH400, will connect with a portion of Peachtree Creek in an area where several planned paths are expected to come together in the future.

“All the time we have been designing PATH400 one of the big issues is we didn’t have water [alongside the path],” Starling said. “All trails you [remember] have some water. It became a running joke: ‘I just want a creek!’”

Now they have one, she said, in an area where several cross-city trails may meet. “It’s the gateway to the BeltLine for us,” she said, “and it’s water. We’ve got to celebrate that.”

In the future, the area could serve as an entryway to Buckhead, she said. “This is where you start Buckhead,” she said. “This is where you start PATH400.”

The 1.5-acre former school site “allows us to get the trail through and develop a park for the community,” Starling said. Combined with the 1-acre Lowrey Stevens Cemetery, “it makes a nice linear park,” she said.

When completed, the $27 million PATH400 will run 5.2 miles, mostly alongside Ga. 400, and will connect Buckhead with the Atlanta BeltLine and with trails in Sandy Springs and Dunwoody. State transportation officials have agreed to build a portion of the multi-use trail as part of the reconstruction of the Ga. 400/I-285 interchange.

The PATH400 project grew from an effort to create more green space in Buckhead after a city survey found Atlanta had too little parkland per capita and the District 7 area of Buckhead had the least per capita in the city.

A recent construction update issued by Livable Buckhead highlighted several trail projects to be completed soon.

On the portion of the trail between Old Ivy and Wieuca roads, construction is on track to be completed by September. A 14-foot-tall, 800-foot long block wall installed along the trail will feature a stone-look finish and five panels for art installations, Livable Buckhead said.

Also, crews soon will start working on the section between Sidney Marcus and Miami Circle.

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.