An illustration showing a trail connecting the new Crooked Creek Park, at bottom, along the creek to the Holcomb Bridge section of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, at top, and winding through its woodland. (City of Sandy Springs)

The plan to connect a new city park to a Chattahoochee National Recreation Area is moving forward with the final approval of a land purchase needed to build a trail.

The Sandy Springs City Council approved at its Aug. 21 meeting a $54,500 purchase of nearly two acres of undeveloped land behind The Retreat at River Park, an apartment complex at 3100 River Exchange Dr. The tract is planned to be used to build a walking trail between the undeveloped Crooked Creek Park and a currently inaccessible part of the national park.

The land purchase was previously approved by council in February at a lower cost, but the Utah-based owner of the apartment complex later notified the city that closing costs would be an additional $15,000, said Michael Perry, the city’s director of recreation and parks.

“We pushed this along a little quicker than we needed to. We thought we had our bases covered. We did not,” Perry said.

The additional cost is budgeted for in the project budget, according to the city.

Councilmember John Paulson has been the main advocate for the park, and “gleefully” moved for approval. The purchase was unanimously approved by the council.

The intended park is five wooded acres at Spalding and River Exchange drives in the panhandle. The city bought the park land more than five years ago. It sits at the intersection of Spalding and River Exchange drives on the very tip of the city’s eastern panhandle, on the Peachtree Corners border. Its namesake creek runs through the site.

In 2017, the city announced it would team with the National Park Service to link its park with a currently inaccessible part of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area via a walking trail.

The owner of the apartment complex previously was against selling the right of way to the city due to security concerns about the trail, but later changed its mind, according to the city. A city memo about the purchase said the owner now wants a fence installed along the length of the trail inside its property as a “security measure for its residents.” That request will be discussed during the final design process, the memo said.