Tuesday, October 29, 2013

City considers opening Fort Peachtree grounds for first time in more than a decade

Posted By on Tue, Oct 29, 2013 at 10:51 AM

Proposed greenspace would border Chattahoochee River and Peachtree Creek
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  • Proposed greenspace would border Chattahoochee River and Peachtree Creek
A historic 15-acre park along the Chattahoochee River and Peachtree Creek could soon be reopened, giving northwest Atlanta residents some much-needed greenspace.

Atlanta City Councilwoman Yolanda Adrean has proposed a new measure, which earlier today passed in council's utilities committee, that would open the Fort Peachtree facility to the public. The land has historical ties to the early 19th century military fort, which was built in 1814 following the War of 1812, and next year will mark its 200th birthday.

If passed, the city's parks department would operate and manage the facility that's currently owned by the Department of Watershed Management. DWM Commissioner Jo Ann Macrina tells CL the site's renovations could cost around $500,000 and would mostly be paid from her department's budget with possible help from community groups and historical societies.

The facility, which Macrina thinks has remained closed as far back as the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, would have a passive use - no fields, playgrounds, or courts - and remain open from dawn to dusk.

"This is an area of town that doesn't have access to parks," Department of Parks and Recreation Commissioner George Dusenbury tells CL. "Having a park within a half mile of residents [will] continue Mayor Reed's push for [greenspace] access."

Potential upgrades would include fixing a run-down stone pavilion; repairing a damaged diorama of the original Fort Peachtree; restoring historical markers that recognize the Creek and Cherokee nations; and laying down a half-mile trail that would run parallel along Peachtree Creek. In addition, the park would provide kayakers and canoers with access to the Chattahoochee River.

The DWM still has water intake facilities on part of the site. That's caused DWM officials to have some concerns about potential risks for water contamination. Macrina says surveillance cameras and fences would need to be installed around the facility to give U.S. Department of Homeland Security some peace of mind. "This is a highest-level site," she says.

Adrean's proposal will now head to full Council for a vote. If all goes according to plan, Macrina hopes the Fort Peachtree facility will open in the first half of 2014.

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