Ellen-Dunham Jones, director of the Urban Design program at Georgia Tech, spoke about ways Sandy Springs can be a catalyst for urbanization in the suburbs at the sixth annual Thought Leaders Dinner hosted by the Sandy Springs Conservancy on Oct. 3.
The Conservancy, a nonprofit parks advocacy organization, held the dinner at City Springs, 1 Galambos Way.
Dunham-Jones presented the idea of creating connectivity between parts of the city by using trails and eliminating cul-de-sacs.
The city council is planning on adopting a master trail plan at an Oct. 15 meeting. The plan focuses on six major projects to provide connectivity throughout the city. A recommended “model mile,” or pilot project, of trails would connect Marsh Creek and the Sandy Springs Tennis Center, building off work the city has already done in that area.
The city has also explored ideas of street connectivity in an attempt to make commuting easier. In August, the council approved city staff to continue studying the concept and the staff will be presenting their findings at a later, undetermined date.
Previously, Dunham-Jones told the Reporter that Sandy Springs could be a “real leader” in the initiative.
Dunham-Jones also suggested reviving vacant strip malls with mixed-use redevelopment to attract people who want a more walkable, urban lifestyle.
Mayor Rusty Paul and Steve Levetan, former chair of the Conservancy, presented the 2019 Greenspace Champion award to Sandy Springs residents Sally and Pete Parsonson.
The award is presented to people making a difference in the environmental and civic health of the community, Levetan said.
“These long-time residents have given generous support for the creation of Morgan Falls Overlook Park and Abernathy Greenway and our programs throughout the years,” Levetan said.
“In our community we have so many unsung heroes…they work hard and put resources in the community without really drawing attention to themselves,” Paul said. “These two people fit that mold.”