Sandy Springs takes first step toward its planned 31.4-mile network of trailsThe Marsh Creek Greenway is to meander along the north side of the creek and, eventually, connect to a bridge across the Chattahoochee River into Cobb County. Credit: Sandy Springs
By David Pendered
Sandy Springs’ planned Marsh Creek Greenway is to be the first of the city’s planned 31.4-mile network of trails that is to link the city’s parks, Perimeter Center and the city’s central park. The PATH Foundation was chosen to oversee the project.
The entire Marsh Creek trail is planned to span a total of 3.2 miles along a portion of a creek that passes near MARTA’s North Springs Station on its journey south, toward Abernathy Road, before angling north and west and ending at the Chattahoochee River, according to the city’s master trails plan.
The first phase of the Marsh Creek Trail is intended to follow the creek along a stretch that passes north of the city’s tennis center and The Weber School. This first stretch of trail is described by the city’s long-range trail plan as a “model mile” that can be built fairly quickly – to show residents that the city can deliver on long-discussed dreams of more public parks and greenways.
This is the project description provided in the master trail plan, which was partially funded by the Sandy Springs Conservancy:
- “The proposed Marsh Creek Greenway will stay on the north side of the creek to Glenridge Drive, including portions of greenways, small bridges, boardwalks, and overlook areas. A small section of greenway will spur off the mainline and connect to the Tennis Center parking lot. Two side path sections are proposed along Glenridge Drive and Glenlake Parkway. They will enclose a small loop around the Glenridge employment center and the future Glenridge Park.”
The master trail plan the city adopted in October 2019 describes the first segment of the Marsh Creek Trail in these terms:
- “Segment 4a – Marsh Creek Greenway– appears to be the low hanging fruit since it has previously been studied, an alignment has been determined, and little acquisition is required. Survey, engineering, and design should be initiated for segment 4a as soon as the plan is adopted. … It is important to begin work on 4a as soon as feasible.”
The city council followed through on the recommendation. At its Feb. 4 meeting, the council retained the PATH Foundation to oversee all aspects of the project – landscape, architecture, engineering, permitting and construction management.
The trail is planned to follow the standards of the region. It’s to be 12 feet wide, multi use, and made of concrete.
Progress on the greenway is about on the schedule suggested in the master trail plan. Engineering was to begin in the current fiscal year, which ends July 1. Construction is to start in July and be complete in about 12 months, according to the timeline.
Ed McBrayer, PATH’s executive director and co-founder, is a staunch advocate of the proposed trail network. PATH had a contract to help design the system and brought in Kaizen Collaborative, a company that has worked on Atlanta’s planned Proctor Creek Greenway Trail, in addition to providing construction designs for more than 100 miles of trails in the Southeast.
In an email comment in June 2019, McBrayer observed of the trail plan in Sandy Springs:
- “Sandy Springs has an incredible opportunity to weave a greenway and trail through the city, even though it is densely developed. It is possible to connect the trails along the existing Chattahoochee and City Springs to virtually every neighborhood in the city.”