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South River Forest public input begins with online survey

A map of the current South River Forest green space area. The exact boundary may change based on public input. (Image by Atlanta Regional Commission/The Nature Conservancy/)

By John Ruch

Public engagement for the South River Forest green space concept has kicked off with an online survey.

The South River Forest is a vision for creating and connecting 3,500 acres of parks and other green spaces in Southeast Atlanta and DeKalb County. The newly launched “Consensus Building and Stakeholder Engagement” process is led by the Georgia chapter of The Nature Conservancy (TNC), a nonprofit organization, with planning and technical assistance from the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC). TNC is coordinating and building on the longtime work of other local organizations.

The process will continue through October and will include public meetings.

The green space concept includes several existing parks, such as Constitution Lakes, Intrenchment Creek and Southside. Atlanta’s recently opened Lake Charlotte Nature Preserve is a key anchor for the concept. Also within the area is the former Atlanta Prison Farm, part of which is slated to be used for Atlanta’s controversial public safety training center.

The exact borders of the green space area can be changed with public input, according to the TNC.

“The South River Forest is an overlooked jewel in our region, a lush green space close to neighborhoods that unfortunately have also been overlooked for too long,” said Samyukth Shenbaga, managing director for ARC’s Community Development group, in a press release. “I’m excited to listen to the community and learn their vision for the future of the forest and how they plan to seize this potentially transformative opportunity.”

“The South River Forest represents one of the greatest, greenest opportunities for community development in metro Atlanta,” said Deron Davis, the executive director of TNC in Georgia, in the press release. “We want to work alongside community members and City and County leaders to make this area a national model for equitable, sustainable investments that enhance neighborhoods and provide environmental and economic benefits downstream.”

A steering committee for the process is still being finalized but is expected to hold its first meeting in June, according to TNC.

Click here for more information or to take the survey.

 

Update: This story has been updated with information about the formation of a steering committee.

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