Atlanta acquiring old cemetery in new park planned for Ga. 400 Trail project
By David Pendered
The pending creation of a 1-acre park off Loridans Drive in Buckhead is the latest step in the effort to build the Georgia 400 Trail, the linear park that’s to connect North Buckhead with the Peachtree Creek spur of the Atlanta BeltLine.
The Atlanta City Council is finalizing the paperwork to acquire the land from the Fulton County/Atlanta Land Bank Authority, Inc. The cost to the city will be about $25,000, to cover the legal fees associated with the transaction, according to legislation pending before the council.
A portion of the Lowery and Stevens Family Cemetery may be on the property and, if it is, the future park will contain one of the oldest cemeteries in the city, according to research by the Buckhead Heritage Society.
Terms of the deal call for the 1.01 acres to become a city park that’s maintained by the city’s parks department. The land could be developed just like any other park, with amenities such as trails, playgrounds, picnic areas, parking and gazebos, according to the pending legislation.
The park will serve as the northern trailhead of a linear park that will run largely in the right-of-way beneath and alongside Ga. 400. This property is now fallow, with the exception of a few temporary homes for urban campers, because it was purchased by the state Transportation Department during the formation of Ga. 400.
The state didn’t need the land after the highway was built. The idea of turning the unused right-of-way into a linear park evolved from the greenspace initiative backed by Councilmember Howard Shook and known as the Buckhead Collection.
The trail is to stretch for five miles, from the pending park on Loridans Drive through the Buckhead high-rise business district, and terminate near MARTA’s Lindbergh Station, at the Peachtree Creek spur of the BeltLine.
The trail and BeltLine are not related, but are being developed concurrently. Once developed, they will constitute the largest expansion of greenspace now underway in the country, according to the Trust for Public Land.