The Buckhead Community Improvement District voted March 22 to continue moving forward with studies on the park over Ga. 400 with a 4-1 vote and two abstaining.
The vote authorizes no more than $365,000 to be spent on phase three of the ongoing study by a consulting firm. The third phase will focus on funding sources.
The cost of building the park has previously been estimated to cost $195 million to $245 million. Funding sources are still being studied, Rob Rogers, a consultant working on the park, said, however, grants, philanthropy, MARTA sales tax and other public sources are being considered. They are studying the balance of public and private funding similar projects in other cities have used.
The estimated operating of the cost of the park is $1,770,000, which could be paid for with taxes, Buckhead CID funding, event and food profits, parking, real estate funds and corporate sponsorships, Roger said.
Board member Robin Suggs of Simon Property Group, who has long been opposed to the plan, was the one no vote. She has previously said she believes it to be a conflict of interest for the board members since they own property that would benefit from the plan and she thinks the Buckhead CID has other needs they should be prioritizing instead.
In public meetings and surveys, the studies found dining and events are the most requested features, with areas to run and walk coming in second.
The consulting firm worked with the Georgia Department of Transportation and found that parking and traffic will not be affected greatly. Parks typically have “relatively low impact” on traffic and parking, Rogers said.
Rogers estimates construction on the park could begin in 2020 and last until 2023. The park still has many steps before construction is on the table, however. The board must continue to approve the park, funding must be acquired and the city must approve the plan.
Rogers said he hopes to give a final update at the Buckhead CID’s July meeting and present the conclusions of the study.
The public will soon be able to see the plan’s details on the Buckhead CID’s website, Jim Durrett, the executive director, said.