Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Beltline News

Meanwhile, back at City Hall, the Board of Directors of Atlanta Beltline, Inc. named a new President and Chief Executive Officer today to replace outgoing CEO Terri Montague. Mr. Brian Leary joins the Beltline from Atlantic Station, where he is currently a Vice President. During his tenure with Atlantic Station, Mr. Leary led the marketing efforts to attract corporate residents, national retailers and international attractions to what is now one of the most visited destinations in the State of Georgia. Over the past few years, he has spoken to groups across the United States on Smart Growth, mixed-use development, and emerging trends. He has presented on Capitol Hill, the National Partners for Smart Growth, the Real Estate Roundtable, and the Urban Land Institute. I wish him all the best on the Beltline.

Closer to home, construction of the Beltline trail through Tanyard Creek Park is finally beginning. Although the neighborhoods have asked for more information on when the construction will begin and how they plan construction to progress, we have not been provided with much detail. The Parks Dept. and the PATH Foundation have verbally agreed to a significant number of modifications to the construction method and have adjusted construction entrances to minimize impact to trees.

A 10-page set of recommendations to minimize tree impacts was created by Spence Rosenfeld, the President of Arborguard, who has volunteered his time to consult as a private arborist on this project. The Parks Dept. also assigned a new arborist to the project whose job it will be to oversee that the project is having as limited an impact on the trees as possible and that the PATH Foundation and construction crew are complying with the private arborist’s recommendations. The city attorney refused to sign any documentation officially enforcing the recommendations but they have been attached to the building plans and permit. We’ll just have to wait and see what really transpires.

Currently, we have not yet been told from where they will access the section of the trail to be built under the CSX railroad trestle on the south side of the park, or even if they have permission yet from CSX to build that section of trail.

Based on what we have been told, a new construction entrance will be cut from Walthall Drive for construction of the trail through Tanyard Creek Park. This new entrance will remain after the trail is completed at the request of the Parks Dept. to allow access for large vehicles to do park maintenance. The heaviest vehicles, such as the construction crane and semi-tractor trailers for the construction of the new bridge over Tanyard Creek, will not use the Walthall Drive entrance but will instead use an existing entrance from Collier Road.

We have not been told on which side of Tanyard Creek the proposed walkway under Collier Road will be installed. Across Collier Road, at the new Howard Park, the lighter equipment to construct the trail will use an existing driveway down to the creek level. A major change to the plans was to not bring the crane and two semis into Howard Park for installation of the long bridge over Tanyard Creek, but we should expect concrete trucks and trackhoes in this section.

The crane and semis to bring in the bridge will access the area from a new construction entrance on Golfview Drive. The entrance has been shifted slightly to avoid trees. According to the Arborguard recommendations, the vehicles should be limited to a single vehicle width in accessing this site to limit impact to the area.

We have not been informed whether American Golf, operator of the nearby Bobby Jones Golf Course, has approved the plan provided by the PATH Foundation for re-aligning a section of a hole on the course, so it is unclear when the last section of the trail along Golfview Drive will be completed.

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