The Georgia General Assembly approved March 24 the Brookhaven City Council’s request to raise its hotel/motel tax from 5 percent to 8 percent so it can use the increased revenue to fund a portion of its Peachtree Creek Greenway linear park and multi-use path that will eventually connect to the Atlanta Beltline.

The bill now goes to Gov. Nathan Deal’s desk for his signature.

A map of the planned Peachtree Creek Greenway. Click to enlarge. (Special)

“We applaud the Georgia General Assembly for taking action on this important issue, and remain optimistic that the governor will also see the regional impact that this legislation will have in terms of regional tourism and  the linkage of alternative transportation options,” said city spokesperson Burke Brennan in a prepared statement.

The city of Dunwoody’s request to also raise its hotel/motel tax from 5 percent to 8 percent was approved earlier this week and will be used to fund trails and green space in Perimeter Center.

The Brookhaven City Council voted unanimously Feb. 15 to request the increase.

The city will be focusing initial construction on a base trail along the Greenway between North Druid Hills Road and Briarwood Road estimated to cost about $9 million.

State law requires the 3 percent be divided with 1.5 percent going to the city to use on a project for “creation and expansion” of a project to drive tourism to the city and region — in this case the Greenway — and the other 1.5 percent going to Discover DeKalb, the county’s tourism agency, toward the promotion and advertising of the Greenway. State law prohibits the money to be used for improvements of existing parks, said City Attorney Chris Balch in February.

Assistant City Manager Steve Chapman said in February it’s estimated the city’s half of the 3 percent will add $650,000 annually to the city’s coffers. The $650,000 will then be used by the city to finance a $9 million loan, or revenue bond, over 20 years at 3.93 percent principal and interest. The revenue stream from the hotel/motel tax will pay for the revenue bond. Revenue bonds don’t require a public vote because they don’t rely on the full faith and credit of the city, City Manager Christian Sigman said last month.

The Peachtree Creek Greenway plan is a 12-mile multi-use path and linear park that is designed, in the long term, to connect the Atlanta BeltLine to Brookhaven, Chamblee and Doraville. Three miles of the Greenway is located in Brookhaven.

The North Fork of Peachtree Creek begins outside of I-285 and mostly flows along I-85 until it joins the South Fork of Peachtree Creek near the Lindbergh MARTA station and Path400 in Buckhead.

Dyana Bagby

Dyana Bagby is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta Intown.