The long-awaited groundbreaking for the Peachtree Creek Greenway is slated to happen by the end of the year. Bids for the first “model mile” of the linear park and trail are expected to go out after Labor Day and the City Council could vote as soon as October on awarding a contract to begin construction.
Early talks of the Greenway estimated a groundbreaking would happen in early 2018, but the city has faced difficulty acquiring many of the private pieces of land along the multi-use path, including the use of eminent domain in several instances.
The first one-mile stretch of the Greenway is located between North Druid Hills Road and Briarwood Road. Total cost for that section is expected to be between $8 million to $10 million, Greenway project manager Moe Trebuchon told the mayor and City Council at its Aug. 14 meeting.
“The project continues to gain positive momentum,” Trebuchon told the council. “Shortly after Labor Day we plan to go to bid for phase one and expect to have market pricing in October so we can determine the true cost and then make a recommendation to the council on to whom the contract is to be awarded.”
The $8 million to $10 million price tag is within the cost estimates made over the past year for the first phase and is within the amount of up to approximately $12.4 million in revenue bonds the city is issuing for the Greenway with the backing of hotel-motel taxes.
Ed McBrayer, executive director of the PATH Foundation, who the city contracted with to design the linear park and multi-use trail, walked the council through the final 100 percent design of the first phase.
Several adjustments and tweaks have been made over the past several months as the city acquired new property and following the decision by the city to locate its new public safety building on the 19 acres of Briarwood Road where a trailhead is also to be located, he said.
For example, a trail head entrance is now being located on North Druid Hills after the city purchased an old sign shop building adjacent to the Salvation Army property. The entrance to the Greenway will be at the traffic light at West Druid Hills Drive just past the Salvation Army’s main entrance on North Druid Hills Road, he said.
With that former sign shop land, a parking lot area along with a plaza and steps leading to the Greenway trail next to Peachtree Creek will be constructed. The two-lane driveway from North Druid Hills Road down to near the creek will be steep because the city cannot fill in where the floodplain exists on the site, McBrayer said. Steps will be built for access to the lower trail from the parking area.
Also in cooperation with the Salvation Army on some of its donated Corporate Boulevard property, another reconfigured parking area and trailhead will be located, McBrayer said. That will allow for a bike trail and an upper trail access from the parking area and a spur will be built to go to the lower trail, he said.
A third access point will be at Briarwood Road where more parking will be available as well as a plaza area and stairs leading down to the Greenway trail. That site will be where the new public safety building will be constructed, but due to public safety regulations, the trailhead parking and public safety building cannot share parking, McBrayer said. The new building will also have its own separate road off Briarwood Road, he said.
“You’ve got three nice access points – the parking lot at Briarwood, the parking lot off the Salvation Army property and parking and access at North Druid Hills,” McBrayer said. “A lot of people will arrive as pedestrians and cyclists, but you will have adequate access for cars.”
A “major bridge crossing” is also planned from Corporate Square to the north side of the creek to the Jackson Square townhome complex on Buford Highway. There is a small parcel of land where the bridge ends near the residential property that is proposed to become a green space area. The small lot was acquired by DeKalb County via FEMA Hazard Mitigation and the city continues to work with FEMA on getting approval for the property.
Public input is being sought until Aug. 24 on the proposed construction of the bridge as part of FEMA pre-disaster mitigation deed restrictions to provide input on what impact the bridge may have. Emails can be sent to Moe.Trebuchon@brookhavenga.gov.
There will be lighting overhead on the bridge as well as underneath to provide a glow as people walk and cycle across the bridge, McBrayer said.
Design details of trash cans, benches, mileposts and signs have been decided.
Councilmember Joe Gebbia asked where the zero-mile marker should be located. McBrayer said that is up to the council, but he suggested the point at which the Greenway is slated to meet PATH400 in Buckhead in future phases of the project. The city is also working with the Atlanta Regional Commission and the city of Atlanta to ensure connectivity to PATH400 and eventually to the Atlanta BeltLine.
Councilmember Bates Mattison asked whether there would be police call boxes located along the trail to quell fears of crime. McBrayer played down the need for them and said crime is not a problem on public trails. Video cameras will be placed along the trail for security.
“Your trail will be lit. I’ve never heard that we need call boxes [on trails],” he said. “This trail will be so heavily used and by the right people you’re probably going to forget you asked me that question.”
City Manager Christian Sigman pointed out the new public safety headquarters where the new police department will be located is also being built on trailhead property and said police will be patrolling the Greenway as well.
The Greenway is being built within a floodplain, but McBrayer said the trail will be built to withstand any potential future flooding.
The City Council at the Aug. 14 meeting also approved Right of Entry Agreements between the city and Government Properties Income Trust that has property in Corporate Square, Jackson Square Condominiums and the Jackson Square Condominium Homeowners Association to provide access for construction of the Peachtree Creek Greenway.