1. Flooding and Sewage Issues
In February 2016, Mayor Kasim Reed held a meeting with members of the Atlanta Memorial Park Conservancy (AMPC), Council Member Yolanda Adrean, neighborhood leaders, and other neighbors to devise an aggressive approach to eliminate sanitary sewer overflows from the Peachtree Creek trunk/relief sewer lines in Atlanta Memorial Park and to reduce flooding and stream bank erosion in Atlanta Memorial Park after the Park was contaminated with flooded waters containing sewage in December 2015. Meetings are ongoing and significant progress is being made.
On October 24, 2016, the Department of Watershed Management (DWM) held a collaborative discussion with the community regarding DWM’s ongoing efforts to address the sanitary sewer overflows, flooding, and other watershed related issues that have impacted Atlanta Memorial Park. They gave a presentation and followed with a Q&A session. The community talked directly with the DWM team to discuss the issues in the Park and learned more about the proposed, planned and potential improvements.
The DWM currently has three projects underway in Atlanta Memorial Park.
Howell Mill Road Outfall Realignment (1Q 2019 – 3Q 2019): The Department of Watershed Management is eliminating the sewer aerial that crosses over Peachtree Creek at the Howell Mill bridge. Construction is expected to last approximately 6 months and will involve partial/temporary lane and road closures beginning in mid-March. Click here for more details.
Oldfield/Woodward Outfall Realignment (1Q 2019 – 3Q 2019): The Department of Watershed Management is eliminating the sewer aerial that crosses over Peachtree Creek between Woodward Way and Wesley Drive. Click here for more details.
Peachtree Creek Trunk Stabilization Project (2Q 2018 – 4Q 2019): While the project will not be complete until 4Q 2019, the contractor will be finished with its work in Atlanta Memorial Park in May 2019. Click here for the schedule and here for additional details.
The City has projects scheduled through 2030 totaling $32M, which will improve the system’s ability to handle sewage and mitigate flooding.
The DWM has established a Technical Advisory Group that meets quarterly. The group is comprised of AMPC members and other concerned citizens, including a representative from the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper. Here are the January 24, 2018 meeting minutes.
You may also find helpful the material presented at the October 2016 Open House.
At the October 2016 Open House, DWM presented this “Path Forward” statement:
The City Department of Watershed Management is committed to achieving the goal to eliminate wet weather-related sewer overflows within Memorial Park and the Peachtree Creek Basin. The City has developed a comprehensive list of completed, planned, and potential projects, as well as their expected beneficial impacts to continue efforts towards achieving this goal.
The last DWM Community Open House was held in June 2018 at the Bobby Jones Clubhouse on Woodward Way. At this time, a follow-up Open House has not been scheduled.
DWM has been keeping neighbors apprised of its work in the park via social media and other communications channels. AMPC also forwards information it receives from DWM in its e-newsletters.
If you are interested in having DWM schedule another Open House, please email email@example.com to let us know of your interest and we will pass along that information to DWM.
2. Peachtree Creek Bridge Replacement Project
According to GDOT:
* Northside Drive will have 3 lanes, one lane heading north, one lane heading south and a dedicated middle turn lane.
* There will be some temporary road closings as required for construction.
* The new Northside Drive bridge will have improved pedestrian and bike access; on the west side, the bridge will accommodate a 5-foot sidewalk and on the east side, there will be a detached 10-foot multi-use path bridge crossing Peachtree Creek.
Based on information provided by GDOT, the project is a 40-42 month project. The moving of utilities began in early 2019 and the project is estimated to be completed by August 2021. The closing of Northside Drive at the bridge began on September 8, 2020 and will last for a period of 90 days.
Click here to view the latest schedule and update from GDOT.
On August 28, 2019, AMPC, on behalf of the surrounding neighborhood leaders who live in the areas surrounding the Peachtree Creek bridge replacement project, presented GDOT with questions to express their concerns and ask for further clarification on various aspects of the project. Click here for the full Q&A.
No. There is NOT pedestrian access across the bridge or around the work zone until further notice.
This bridge (built as a utility bridge to carry utilities underneath) will connect the PATH trail along Northside Drive to the trail on the east side of Woodward Way and will open when the project is complete.
No. Work will continue to complete the project with intermittent lane closures on Northside Drive. The entirety of the project will be done by August 2021. There is a possibility that the project will be completed sooner than August 2021. AMPC will keep neighbors updated via email as we receive updates from the Georgia Department of Transportation.
You cannot access Bobby Jones Golf Course and Bitsy Grant Tennis Center from north of Peachtree Creek on Northside Drive. You can access the golf course from south of the creek at the intersection of Collier Road and Northside Drive. There is a detour sign at that intersection that says “ROAD CLOSED Local Traffic Only”, but golf course and tennis traffic is considered “Local Traffic” and will be able to travel north on Northside Drive to reach the entrances to the facilities.
If your concern requires immediate attention, please contact the project manager for the Northside Drive bridge replacement project, Terrance Cooper, at TCooper2@dot.ga.gov. If your concern is a city matter requiring immediate attention, please contact Council Member J.P. Matzigkeit’s office at jpmatzigkeit@AtlantaGa.gov. If you have concerns or comments that can wait a few days, please contact AMPC, your neighborhood leader, or homeowner’s civic association. AMPC and the surrounding neighborhood leaders will be discussing all detour issues on a zoom call with the City and State on Thursday, September 29, 2020 and will share all information received.
3. The Playground
The new location is on higher ground and is further away from Peachtree Creek and problematic sewer manhole covers.
The old equipment had nearly reached “end-of-life” according to the city’s standards. The new equipment meets a number of new safety standards, is ADA accessible, and provides children with new play options. The new design puts an emphasis on providing equipment that allows children to play individually and in groups, and across wide age ranges.
Yes, it will. But it will flood less frequently, as it is approximately 18” higher than the old location.
The surface on the new playground is permeable; you can literally pour a bucket of water on it and see it disappear. The rubberized material also provides a cushioned surface and is not made from recycled tires. The City of Atlanta now uses this material in many parks as it is a better choice than recycled tires for play areas.
The base material under the rubberized surface is commonly known as “crusher run”, which is a gravel mix that forms a solid base. This same surface was used under the old playground.
The total cost of the playground was about $400,000. This funding provided for:
- design and consulting
- removal of old playground equipment
- relocation of an existing tree
- purchase and installation of:
– new playground equipment
– rubber safety surface (not recycled tires)
– benches and picnic tables
– trash receptacles (to be installed Spring 2017)
– freeze-resistant water fountain, hydrant, and pet water bowl (Spring/Summer 2017)
– bike racks
The city provided $200,000; Park Pride contributed $87,500; individual donors contributed the balance of the funds.
Mayor Reed visited the park in March 2016 and announced his support for a new playground. A playground steering committee was formed, and an Open House was conducted on May 5, 2017 to gather neighborhood input. A new playground design was created, which balanced the use of the park space, the desire to keep the open field intact, and still keep to a budget. The city offered a budget of $200,000, which was not enough to allow for the playground to be built in a single phase. Instead of stretching the project out over months or years for fundraising, neighbors stepped forward and offered to fill the funding gap, including one donor who put forth $100,000. Park Pride joined in, and with their matching funds the project moved forward. The Conservancy is particularly proud that the project was completed on-budget and in record time.
4. AMPC, the Bobby Jones Golf Course, and the existing Clubhouse
The AMPC is not involved with the golf course. As was widely explained in the media in 2015, the state now owns the golf course, and the Bobby Jones Golf Course Foundation is responsible for fundraising, overseeing renovations and managing the operation of the course. You can learn more about the renovation plans at www.bjgcfoundation.org.
The state owns the existing clubhouse and the land immediately surrounding the clubhouse. Currently the clubhouse is vacant, and has been leased back to the City of Atlanta on a long-term lease. A new non-profit is working with the City of Atlanta, AMPC, and the immediate neighborhood (the Peachtree Battle Alliance) to establish a new use for the clubhouse.
You can learn more by reading this article on an Open House held October 16, 2017.
5. The multi-use trail (PATH) alongside the Bobby Jones Golf Course
The 10-foot (in some sections 12-foot) wide PATH around the golf course is complete and open for use! The missing link is the pedestrian footbridge which will span Peachtree Creek alongside the new Northside Drive bridge. This footbridge, estimated to start in 2020, will be constructed as part of the Northside Drive bridge replacement project; see section 2 for more information.
The pedestrian footbridge will be on the east side of the to-be-rebuilt Northside Drive bridge, and connect the new PATH alongside Woodward Way with the PATH that currently dead-ends near the creek. Notably, the PATH will connect with the underpass which will go underneath the rebuilt Northside Drive bridge, connecting the PATH on the golf course side with the sidewalks and trails on the west side of Northside Drive.
6. The Memorial Park Walkways Project – Overview
The Memorial Park Walkways project, originally conceived in the draft master plan for the park, was initiated in 2013 to review, assess and provide a vision for Atlanta Memorial Park with the community including the “passive” side of Atlanta Memorial Park (west of Northside Drive).
- * Enhance walkability and connectivity
- * Assess, preserve, and restore the tree canopy
- * Restore native plant communities along Peachtree Creek and the trail system
- * Improve user experience and provide connection to park amenities
- * Address erosion and upgrade existing drainage inlets along the perimeter of the park
In addition to the public workshops held in 2013, professional input was provided by the City of Atlanta Parks and Recreation Department, Trees Atlanta, Brookwood Tree Consulting, HGOR (a landscape architecture firm), Long Engineering, and the City of Atlanta Watershed Department.
The first step was to fund and commission a feasibility study. This study was funded by a $50,000 legacy grant awarded to AMPC by Park Pride, plus $50,000 in matching funds from individual donors. This study proposed a number of projects, some of which are currently underway (invasive species removal and installation of sidewalks; keep reading for more on these two projects).
The complete Feasibility Study is 176 pages and is located here. For your convenience, the “Findings and Recommendations” section (pages 32 and 33) are available here. The study was completed in 2015 and was presented to the community at an Open House on November 2015. It was publicly presented to the city Design Review Committee on December 15, 2015.
7. The Memorial Park Walkways Project – Sidewalks
The sidewalks will be 5-feet wide around the perimeter of Memorial Park, west of Northside Drive. The sidewalks being added on Wesley Drive and Woodward Way (from the Peachtree Battle Avenue to the Northside Drive intersections) will tie into the existing 5-foot sidewalks on Howell Mill Road, Peachtree Battle Avenue, and Northside Drive.
During the 2013 AMPC public workshops, attendees expressed a desire to keep the sidewalks on the passive side of the park at 5 feet. This desire was confirmed by the Memorial Park Civic Association (MPCA) in the resolutions that were submitted to the AMPC in April 2014. A copy of the MPCA resolutions can be found here. Additionally, a 5-foot wide sidewalk complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards.
The Feasibility Study completed by landscape architect firm, HGOR, recommended that concrete be used for the ADA accessible sidewalk and the City of Atlanta’s Department of Parks and Recreation agreed with the recommendation.
Concrete is a durable and commonly used material for sidewalk construction and is ADA approved.
Yes, pervious concrete was considered as an alternate. Due to the project being located within a floodplain, installation cost, and maintenance issues with pervious treatments, it was determined pervious materials were not appropriate for the project. Pervious treatments in this environment would quickly become clogged with silt, rendering them ineffective.
Yes, there will be a landscape buffer between the curb and the sidewalk for the majority of the project. Short runs may have a narrower strip or none at all where needed.
Extensive research was conducted during the Feasibility Study phase to save as many trees as possible. Only four non-specimen trees were recommended for removal within the park out of the original 871 trees surveyed. Of the 4 trees marked for removal within the park, 2 were leaning into the street creating a hazard to vehicular traffic and pedestrians and 3 of the 4 were also in poor condition. The trees removed were tagged with the following numbers: 1198, 1829, 1875, and 1787.
AMPC met with all 8 property owners along the stretch of Wesley Drive (on the park side) near Howell Mill Road to discuss the project. The 3 owners needing to have their respective trees removed agreed to have this work done to accommodate for the sidewalk project. Follow-up meetings were held with the 8 property owners to review the project again before construction starts since some homes had changed ownership since AMPC’s last meeting with the homeowners along this stretch of Wesley Drive.
The project includes planting 29 trees as recompense for the tree removal as required by City of Atlanta ordinance and for the purpose of preserving the existing tree canopy in the park.
The project will replace existing eroded rubble stone curbs where sidewalk improvements are proposed along the perimeter of the park with a City of Atlanta standard granite curb. The City of Atlanta no longer installs rubble curbing. A continuous curb system will help direct stormwater to catch basins and prevent further washout and erosion in low spots. Rubble stone curb material will be salvaged and may be re-used within the park.
In September 2016, the Atlanta City Council approved legislation introduced by former Council Member Yolanda Adrean allocating funds from the Renew Atlanta Bond Program for the sidewalks which includes new granite curbing and upgrades to the existing catch basins. The funding furthered former Council Member Adrean’s goal to have sidewalks within a 10-15 minute walk along all corridors leading to schools and parks in District 8.
The 5-foot sidewalk project began in May 2019 with construction estimated to last 6-12 months.
The Georgia Environmental Protection Division Best Practices: Greenspace and Flood Protection Guidebook is a good place to start.
As described under section 6 – Best Practices: Compatible Recreation Uses, “Trails are one of the most common recreational uses within floodplains and are used for a variety of activities including walking, jogging and biking. Generally, multi-use trails are paved to improve accessibility, prevent erosion, increase longevity and minimize maintenance needs.”
The City of Atlanta Renew Atlanta Bond program is financing the construction of a 5-foot sidewalk along Wesley Drive and Woodward Way. The project will replace curbing, install new inlets, and construct sidewalk along the roadways on the park side. The project will also include removal of invasive plant species.
Trails, including paved trails and sidewalks, are an allowed and encouraged use of floodplain greenspace. The importance of connecting citizens to nature and waterways has been recognized as worthwhile uses of these areas. The installation of these sidewalks around Atlanta Memorial Park is providing a critical link within a growing pedestrian friendly network of trails and sidewalks in greenspaces areas throughout the city.
No, the project will not add additional fill to the floodplain or raise flood elevations.
According to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, “Trails are one of the most common recreational uses within floodplains and are used for a variety of activities including walking, jogging and biking. Generally, multi-use trails are paved to improve accessibility, prevent erosion, increase longevity, and minimize maintenance needs.” When designing the sidewalk, the slope, width, paving material, and subsurface conditions were all taken into consideration (Source: Georgia Environmental Protection Division, Best Practices: Greenspace and Flood Protection Guidebook).
Yes, a buffer variance, which included a buffer mitigation plan, from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division was approved for the project December 13, 2018. All disturbed areas will be stabilized following construction and approximately 3,500 square feet of the buffer will be restored with native vegetation as mitigation.
8. The Memorial Park Walkways Project – Tree Survey
The tags are a unique identifier for each tree that corresponds with both the information AMPC collected as well as a specific location captured in the survey. AMPC, DPR and other city departments now have the resources to not only see a tree in the field, but can now look up the species and size, if desired. The tags and nails are aluminum so they will not corrode, and only cause the damage equivalent to a paper cut.
The City required all trees within 35’ of a proposed trail be sized and located at a minimum. By knowing the “what and where” of the trees, trail improvements have been planned in a way that minimizes the impact to the trees and of the trees impacted, mitigating those impacts ideally through root bridging. The 6 trees that do require removal for the installation of the sidewalks are discussed further below.
You can use the AMPC’s “TreeTracker” app, located here:
The passive portion of Memorial Park was surveyed by Long Engineering, a professional engineering firm, in concert with arborist Chris Hughes of Brookwood Tree Consulting, who is certified through the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) and is a Registered Consulting Arborist. The arborist placed specific tags on park trees based on tree size and tree location within the park as captured by the survey.
The City of Atlanta requires that all trees at least 2.5″ in diameter that are within 35 feet of an existing or a proposed walkway or nature trail be surveyed and tagged. Now that these trees have been identified, trail layout and improvements have been planned in order to minimize any impact to the trees in the park.
The tree data that was collected by the arborist provides valuable information about the canopy of trees in the park. Tree size, location and health have been recorded. AMPC seeks to maintain and enhance the rich and diverse heritage of trees in the park. The tree study provides tangible information that can guide decisions for proper tree care so that this treasured tree canopy can be better maintained for park goers to enjoy for generations to come.
Only 4 trees in the park, 3 of 4 in poor condition, were removed in May 2019 to accommodate the 5-foot sidewalks on Wesley Drive and Woodward Way. 3 additional trees on private property were removed in May 2019 as part of the sidewalk project. The notice of tree removal as required by the City of Atlanta was posted in the park. No appeals were received.
As part of AMPC’s ongoing efforts to preserve the tree canopy in the park, AMPC conducted a tree survey in the park to assess the health condition of all of the tagged trees as noted in the response to “Tell me more about the surveying and protection of the trees?” below. During the feasibility study phase, AMPC worked with the landscape architect to ensure that the sidewalk routing would work around existing trees where possible and note the locations where root bridging would be required if the sidewalk was laid within a tree’s root zone.
Within public property in Atlanta (parks, right of way, etc.), all trees over 2.5” in trunk diameter are protected. If a tree is determined to be unhealthy or structurally unsound and the City agrees, the City will issue a DDH (Dying, Diseased, or Hazardous) permit and allow for the removal without the need to plant new trees.
In Atlanta’s tree ordinance, a specimen tree is simply an exceptionally large tree. These are over 30” trunk diameter for canopy trees (oaks, pines, hickories) and over 10” trunk diameter for understory trees (dogwoods, cherries, etc.). The City prefers all efforts be made to conserve these trees.
The assessment performed in Memorial Park was technically a Canopy Dynamics Study. It allows for AMPC and DPR to continue the rich heritage of trees in the park and provides additional information that can guide decisions for tree care. Because of the study, AMPC and DPR now have hard data on at least a portion of the trees in Memorial Park. With this, AMPC and DPR can determine the following:
- Species distribution to help make decisions about which trees are represented and what might be the most appropriate species to plant.
- 55 different species are represented, but 25% are pines (221).
- Size (age) distribution that may help shed light on how the population is likely to trend over the next 10-15 years.
- 63 canopy trees are over 30” diameter (large specimens).
- Tree health distribution
− 28.5% Excellent (248)
− 34.3% Good (298)
− 25.1% Fair (218)
− 11.5% Poor (100)
− .6% Dead (5)
According to AMPC’s arborist, the above is a good distribution. However, the number of Fair trees is slightly higher than normal. Some of those Fair trees could be returned to Good or Excellent condition. Others are growing very closely with another tree and this “shared base” is not a good long term spacing.
The tags are a unique identifier for each tree that corresponds with both the information AMPC collected as well as a specific location captured in the survey. AMPC and DPR now have the resources to not only see a tree in the field, but could then look up the species and size, if desired. The tags and nails are aluminum so they will not corrode, and only cause the damage equivalent to a paper cut.
Finally, the City required at least all trees that might be impacted by any trail improvements be surveyed (sized and located at a minimum). Again, by knowing the “what and where” of the trees, trail improvements have been planned in a way that minimizes the impact to the trees through the use of root bridging which was successfully implemented during the construction of other sidewalks and trails in the City.
AMPC was awarded a grant by the Garden Club of Georgia for a Tree Pruning Project. The grant, which was reviewed and approved by registered arborists and the city, can be read here; the final approval document is here. From the document:
“The Project will highlight the treasured tree canopy in the park and demonstrate how proper tree pruning can not only enhance the forest but also extend the life of the tree canopy for future generations. The Project will also bring attention to the memorial trees that were planted in the 1930s.“
“The Project is an important part of the larger Plan for the park which will serve as a road map providing long-term guidance for tree plantings, species selection, tree care and maintenance. The Project and Plan will be monitored and managed as a team effort with Brookwood Tree Consulting, the Atlanta Memorial Park Conservancy and the City of Atlanta working together to develop a priority of actions to improve the tree canopy in the park.”
9. Forest Restoration / Invasive Species
“In a new environment, invasive species are free from natural predators, parasites, or competitors found in their native habitats, and they often develop very high populations. These large populations can out-compete and displace native species, or can reduce wildlife, food, and habitat. Some invasive species can reduce forest productivity by reducing tree growth rates, restricting tree seedling establishment, elevating fire hazard, and increasing site preparation costs.”*
*source: Trees Atlanta – https://treesatlanta.org/our-programs/forest-restoration/
The above statement speaks to the general issue of invasive species in Atlanta. Right here in Atlanta Memorial Park, the reality is that kudzu, privet, and other invasive plants are aggressively taking over sections of the park. Unless efforts are made to reduce their footprint, they will eventually dominate.
AMPC is working with Trees Atlanta to remove the invasive species in the Park by having monthly volunteer days in the park to hand remove invasives (primarily kudzu and privet) on the second Saturday of each month. The work days also include re-planting of native plants when the area is cleared of invasive plants. All are welcome to attend and can find more information by contacting AMPC or Trees Atlanta.
As part of AMPC’s efforts to remove invasive species in the park, AMPC worked with Trees Atlanta in 2014 to complete a study to assess the use of prescribed grazing and hand-pulling in non-erodible areas, which can reduce the amount of herbicide application required by as much as 90%.
To help prevent the invasive species from returning, Trees Atlanta, after receiving authorization from the City of Atlanta, does use herbicides sparingly. See below for an explanation from Brian Williams, Trees Atlanta Urban Forestry Director and ISA Certified Arborist.
The recommended herbicide used by Trees Atlanta is Rodeo, a water-safe form of glyphosate that lacks the surfactants that cause harm to invertebrates and amphibians, or a forestry specialty herbicide called Element 3A, which is a salt form of triclopyr. Foliar application to ivy would only be scheduled during dormancy periods for desirable species. Both Rodeo and Element 3A are safe to use near surface water, have little to no soil mobility (meaning that in a clay soil they are bound to soil particles and rendered inactive for uptake by nontarget plants), and have low toxicity to humans and animals. In terms of carcinogenicity in lab studies, triclopyr is considered of no concern, and glyphosate is currently at Level 2B; this level means it is safer to come into contact with glyphosate than with smog (Level 1), diesel exhaust (Level 1), ethanol in beverages (Level 1), consumption of processed meat (Level 1), ultraviolet radiation (Level 1), or sawdust (Level 1) (per the American Cancer Society).
If the majority of the invasive species are removed, will the Park be bare and possibly flood even worse?
AMPC, in conjunction with Trees Atlanta and the City of Atlanta, will be replanting the areas where invasive species have been removed with plants that are native to our environment. The goal is to restore Memorial Park’s forest to bring it back to its optimal health. Notably, the Atlanta Audubon Society has been an outspoken supporter of removing invasive species and planting native species which support healthy bird habitats.
For work done with/for the City of Atlanta, Trees Atlanta works within industry Best Management Practices (BMP).
For herbicide use, Trees Atlanta works within requirements set by the Georgia Department of Agriculture (the state regulatory body), and the federal EPA (the federal regulatory body). Trees Atlanta maintains a state contractor’s license for pesticide application, and has four state-licensed applicators. All herbicide products have an EPA-mandated label with the legal parameters for its use — Trees Atlanta follows those parameters, which include how close the product can be applied to surface water.
Use of herbicide near waterways is subject to buffer regulation. Trees Atlanta has worked with the city’s Watershed Protection department and numerous landscape architects, engineers, and other contractors, in order to arrive at a general BMP. The BMP provides that there should be no soil disturbance within the buffer—therefore, invasive material should not be manually pulled from the buffer. Cut and treat of stumps or simple foliar spraying with herbicide are the only activities allowable in the buffer for invasive removal, provided that the herbicides used (per EPA labeling) are approved for use near surface water.
The intent of the buffer regulation is to reduce soil erosion and sedimentation along stream banks. Preservation of healthy vegetation serves the purpose of the buffer regulation, but preservation of an invaded streambank ultimately results in greater tree loss. Removal efforts in the buffer should be paired with replanting efforts, should the area prove incapable of revegetating naturally.
Using the buffer regulation to argue for the preservation of kudzu, English ivy, and privet is a gross misinterpretation of the spirit of the regulation.
With thanks to Brian Williams, Urban Forestry Director of Trees Atlanta, for the above explanation.
The Memorial Park Beautification and Nature Trail Project
The existing interior trail will be improved with an approximately 3-foot wide porous material section constructed of aggregate and slate scape stabilizer. This material is considered an approved trail surface for floodplain and universal accessibility applications and is used throughout the region in similar environmental conditions along creeks, low lying areas and wooded forests.
The interior nature trails are being funded through a Legacy Grant from Park Pride. Due to the sewer re-lining work in the park by the Department of Watershed Management, the nature trail improvements have been postponed until the contractor has wrapped up their work in the park. With that project coming to an end in the park, the interior nature trails are expected to start in the second quarter of 2019.
10. About AMPC
The Atlanta Memorial Park Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a mission to restore, enhance and preserve Atlanta Memorial Park, making it a beautiful, connected and sustainable urban green space for the enjoyment of all. AMPC’s ongoing efforts and committed focus are on three key areas within Atlanta Memorial Park:
- * green space
- * watershed
- * connectivity
In 2011, Atlanta Memorial Park was one of the few regional parks within the City of Atlanta that did not have a master plan. As the neglect of the park became increasingly apparent, the City encouraged the community leaders that expressed concern over the deteriorating condition of the Park to work together and form a conservancy. Roxanne Giles Smith, the president of the Peachtree Battle Alliance at that time, was instrumental in gathering support from the surrounding neighborhoods and founding the AMPC. One of the first tasks of the AMPC was to work with the various civic associations to develop a Master Plan, which has guided the efforts of the AMPC and the City to ensure the park receives the care and attention it was lacking.
The Board of Directors consists of one permanent liaison from the six neighborhood associations contiguous to the Park as well as at-large members. In April of 2014, the Board of Directors hired an Executive Director, Catherine Spillman, who continues to serve in this capacity.
Who has the ultimate authority to make decisions regarding Memorial Park and what will their decision be based on?
The City of Atlanta’s Department of Parks and Recreation is the ultimate decision maker on issues regarding the Park.
Who are the stakeholders that comprise the Conservancy, and how can residents participate in the conversation?
Since Atlanta Memorial Park is a city park, all citizens of Atlanta are stakeholders. The board of AMPC works closely with the six neighborhoods adjacent to the park property – Memorial Park, Springlake, Collier Hills, Collier Hills North, Haynes Manor, and Brandon – as well as the Castlewood neighborhood. Residents can participate by volunteering in the park or contacting AMPC with your concerns, questions, and ideas by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
11. How to get involved
Volunteering for an upcoming clean up day and supporting AMPC financially are two great ways to start. To volunteer, contact AMPC by clicking on “contact” at the bottom of the home page. To donate, click on the “Donate & Join” tab in the top right corner of the home page. Financial support is welcome at any level!
Yes; the Atlanta Memorial Park Conservancy, Inc. is a Georgia non-profit entity that has been granted 501(c)(3) status. The Conservancy is also eligible for matching corporate funds and accepts stock donations.
The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), which controls the bridge (because it is a state highway), plans to close the bridge to traffic while it is being replaced. GDOT explained that this approach has the advantages of least cost and shortest project time.
The latest schedule with a brief explanation of the project can be found here.
The last Open House on this project was held Tuesday March 13, 2018. You can read more here.
Historical commentary is available in GDOT’s “Responses to Open house Comments” dated September 9, 2016; this is GDOT’s response to public input gathered at the Public Information Open House held on March 1, 2016.
Yes. This section 5 describes what is going in on the east side of Northside Drive (the Bobby Jones Golf Course side); see section 7 for information on the west side of Northside Drive (the “passive side” of the park).
The PATH Foundation spearheaded the design of a multi-use trail as envisioned in the AMPC draft master plan completed in 2014.
The portion that runs from the driveway entrance of Bitsy Grant, alongside Northside Drive to Peachtree Creek, was constructed by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) and was completed late 2017.
The pedestrian bridge on Northside Drive, over Peachtree Creek, will be completed as part of GDOT’s bridge project. It is not clear when GDOT will open this footbridge to traffic, but it will not be earlier than 2019.
The trail to continue eastward (along Woodward Way) on the north side of Peachtree Creek, crossing back over Peachtree Creek and connecting to the existing Beltline, is underway and will be completed summer 2018. The AMPC, the PATH Foundation, the Peachtree Battle Alliance, (former) Councilmember Adrean’s office, Councilmember J.P. Matzigkeit’s office, the Department of Parks and Recreation, the state, and the Bobby Jones Golf Course Foundation have all worked together on this project. Many thanks all around.
How was the planning for the multi-use trail around the golf course shared with the surrounding neighborhoods?
The idea for a multi-use trail around the golf course has been around since at least the early 2000s. Neighbors attending the 3 visioning community workshops revived the discussion to improve connectivity in and around Atlanta Memorial Park. It was during those meetings that the trail around the golf course was added as an important amenity to the AMPC’s draft master plan. Since that time, AMPC has communicated the envisioned draft master plan on its website, in its monthly updates, in neighborhood meetings and other forums. For a history of the meetings that took place prior to the state’s ownership of the golf course, please click here.
How has the community been kept up-to-date on the progress of the multi-use trail around the golf course?
AMPC continues to provide updates via its monthly e-newsletters which it posts on its website and Facebook pages, and shares with its constituents and the surrounding neighborhood leaders; these individual civic associations then distribute it to their respective neighbors.
PATH presented the plan at the May 2017 NPU-C meeting. The PATH Foundation has also met with AMPC, neighborhood leaders and individual neighbors impacted by the proposed PATH to listen to concerns and ideas on the project. On July 11, 2017, the PATH Foundation presented the multi-use trail around the golf course to the community, followed by a Q&A session. You can read details here.
In September of 2016, former Council Member Adrean secured $2.2 million in funding from the City of Atlanta to complete the multi-use trail loop and new pedestrian bridge around the Bobby Jones Golf Course. Working with the City of Atlanta and the State of Georgia, the PATH Foundation constructed the project which improves connectivity in and around the park.
Why has the multi-use trail layout changed since the trail concept was first introduced in the 2013 public workshops?
Originally, the multi-use trail was just a vision by neighbors wanting to see improved connectivity in and around the park. When funding was identified in 2016, the PATH Foundation began working with the City of Atlanta and the State of Georgia to formalize the design and layout. The PATH Foundation also worked with the Bobby Jones Golf Course Foundation to determine the best routing that would work with the renovated golf course design.
Some of the marked trees were cut as part of building that section of the PATH. The PATH Foundation is following the City’s required tree recompense guidelines to replace trees that were lost. The PATH Foundation worked diligently to address the concerns by AMPC and neighbors to save as many trees as possible. Please see the PATH Foundation’s full details here.
Is there any attention being given to preserving trees and addressing the erosion along the proposed trail?
The PATH Foundation has met with the AMPC, Peachtree Battle Alliance board members, and impacted neighbors expressing concern over design elements. The PATH Foundation listened to and is addressing concerns to preserve as many trees as possible while also improving the erosion problem in specific areas. The PATH Foundation took all of the concerns it heard into consideration and updated the community at the July 11, 2017 community meeting at the Bobby Jones clubhouse.
Based on the March 13, 2018 Open House, AMPC provided these Bridge Comments to GDOT. We encourage neighbors to submit their own comments; this helps ensure that GDOT addresses these important safety and quality of life issues.
Discussions with GDOT are ongoing. AMPC is working with the surrounding neighborhood organizations and our council member J.P. Matzigkeit’s office to address the upcoming road closure in summer 2020 and other issues mentioned in the Bridge Comments letter.