Governor Nathan Deal signed HB 575 into law on May 8 that raises Brookhaven’s hotel/motel tax and dedicates funding for the planned Peachtree Creek Greenway.

At the May 8 bill signing were, from left, Don Bolia, Peachtree Government Relations Inc.; Jennifer Winkler, Peachtree Government Relations Inc.; State Rep. Elena Parent; Peachtree Creek Greenway Vice Chair, Sarah Kennedy and Ruby Kennedy; state Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver; Gov. Nathan Deal; Mayor John Ernst; state Rep. Meagan Hanson; Peachtree Creek Greenway Chair Betsy Eggers; and Peachtree Creek Greenway Community Outreach Coordinator Michael Diaz. (City of Brookhaven)

“This is a great day for the cty of Brookhaven and for the state of Georgia,” said Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst in a press release.  “This allows us to move full steam ahead on the PCG project, which will connect Brookhaven’s portion of the 12.3-mile North Fork Peachtree Creek Trail project from Mercer University in unincorporated DeKalb to the PATH400 trail, the South Fork Conservancy Trails and the Atlanta BeltLine.”

James Tsismanakis, executive director of Discover DeKalb Convention and Visitors Bureau, also praised the bill.

“When finished, the PCG will be a tremendous asset for the Brookhaven community and the 11 hotels that accommodate its visitors,” he said in the release. “This new development speaks to the transition of more recreation/lifestyle tourism attractions. The Greenway will serve as a catalyst of new visitors, activities and accommodations throughout the region.”

Design plans for the Peachtree Creek Greenway between North Druid Hills Road, at left, and Briarwood Road. Click to enlarge. (City of Brookhaven)

Betsy Eggers, board chair for the Peachtree Creek Greenway, Inc., thanked local and state governments for their support for the vision.

“We’re heartened by the commitment of the mayor and city council of Brookhaven, the tax-bill co-sponsors State Representatives Meagan Hanson, Scott Holcomb, and Mary Margaret Oliver and State Senators Fran Millar and Elena Parent. All levels of city and state government embrace this vision to connect people and places along the Peachtree Creek,” she said in the press release.

The tax increase is estimated to bring an extra $650,000 into the city’s coffers to be used to kickstart the Peachtree Creek Greenway, a linear park and trail system designed to connect to Buckhead’s PATH400 trails and eventually to the Atlanta BeltLine. The council approved the $35 million Greenway master plan last year.

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. That $9 million would be used to pay for permits, easements and right of way costs and as well as pave some trails on the section of the linear park between North Druid Hills Road and Briarwood Road.

Discover DeKalb will also be gaining an additional $650,000 a year with the tax increase and will be in charge of promoting the Peachtree Creek Greenway as a tourism destination.

Dyana Bagby

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