Morgan Falls Trail will be a ‘model’ project for Sandy Springs

A trail connecting Morgan Falls Overlook Park to Roswell Road will be a model for future trails in the city, the head of the PATH Foundation told Sandy Springs City Council during his Feb. 3 retreat.

The trail is part of a planned 5-mile central loop trail, said Greta deMayo, executive director of the PATH Foundation, which partners with the city to help plan and develop its trails.

The first segment, which will be 1.9 miles, will use a boardwalk to cross the south side of Lake Orkin – with a branch off to Edgewater at Sandy Springs Apartments north of the lake – before continuing to Roswell Road.

The section of the trail connects residents to the Chattahoochee River, Morgan Falls River/Dog Park, Morgan Falls Overlook Park, Big Trees Nature Preserve, and Trowbridge Crossing Mall.

“The project will allow the public to see elements of the pathway system such as sidewalks, bridges, walls, ramps and amenities,” deMayo said.

Excluding land acquisition, this segment of the trail would cost about $8.65 million, she said. The two landowners whose ownership is required for this section of trail will transfer the necessary ownership to the city. All 18 owners affected by the entire Central Loop Trail have expressed interest. Construction of all sections is estimated at $38.55 million.

Some property owners may not want a trail in their backyards, Mayor Rusty Paul said. “We are put off by Huntcliff about the trail systems in this area,” he said.

That’s why the Central Loop Trail was chosen as the first project because no owners objected to it, deMayo said. The PATH Foundation would not bring another segment of the trail to the city council to fund and build until it approved the project and secured support, she said.

Sandy Springs passed a trail master plan in October 2019 that proposed 31 miles of trails connecting 4 existing trails, 12 schools, 15 parks and 3 transit stations. The goal was to build 7 miles of trails in the next 10 years.

“The master plan really focused on connecting the community to desired destinations throughout the city. These included malls, parks, schools, transit stations and the Chattahoochee River,” deMayo said.

Deputy city manager Kristin Smith said many of the planned trail projects are included as part of other projects.

The PATH400 Greenway Trail Expansion will extend the trail from the city limits to Johnson Ferry using funds from the Special Local Transportation Option (TSPLOST). PATH400 is a multi-use trail being constructed along Ga. 400 from Buckhead to Sandy Springs.

The Roswell Road Boulevard project in the North End includes a side road and is funded by TSPLOST II revenue, she said.

“It has become more than just a secondary road, and it will also be an improvement in intersection safety. But it will also provide that lateral connectivity to the Roswell Road Pedestrian Bridge,” Smith said.

The Fulton Perimeter Community Improvement District (CID) is partnering with the city on the Mount Vernon Highway Corridor Improvement Project which will include a bicycle/pedestrian path on the south side of Mount Vernon. In addition to this side path, the TSPLOST project includes the addition of a traffic lane in parts of the hallway, sidewalk and associated improvements. Perimeter CID will contribute $2.85 million for portions of the project within its boundaries.

The Georgia Department of Transportation will also construct a segment of trail from Johnson Ferry Road to Peachtree Dunwoody as part of the Transform 285/400 project.

About Ethel Partin

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