Trust Buys Parcel for Parkland
                                                                                                                                   Riverside Park Resolution
                                                                      August 26, 2004
                                                                    printed in The Story
                                                                      by John Schaffner
                                              Trust buys 6.8 acre Riverside parcel for Parkland
The Trust for Public Land last Friday purchased 6.8 acres of land along James Jackson Parkway between Bolton Road and the City of Atlanta's incinerator that is the beginning of what could become a 100-plus-acre park." that the Riverside community can put its arms around and call its own," according to former Riverside Neighborhood Association president and developer Mark Harrison.
The land is part of a larger plan that the Riverside Neighborhood Association has been working on for months, which would include the city owned Hartsfield Incinerator property and parcels along the Chattahoochee River on both sides of James Jackson Parkway - providing a continuous park and trail system along the river from Whittier Mill Park to the R. M. Clayton Wastewater Treatment Plant at Marietta Boulevard and Bolton Road.
Harrison, who sold the 6.8 acres to the Trust for Public Land for an undisclosed price, said he retained a small parcel at the intersection of James Jackson Parkway and Bolton Road for future development, but included an access easement to the future parkland from Bolton Road. Harrison originally had planned for a small residential development on the property, with possibly some retail included.
However, Harrison and partner Dillon Baines have announced plans for a major mixed use residential and retail development across the intersection of James Jackson Parkway and Bolton Road, on which they hope to break ground in January. With that and a planned development of several hundred housing units by James Braden on the opposite side of James Jackson Parkway between Bolton Road and the river, it appears Harrison decided to sell the property to the Trust for Public Land for a park rather than develop housing units on it.
Harrison said he sees the land as a starting point for a park just for Riverside, " the way Whittier Mill Village has with it's park in the past couple of years." The builder, who has bought, remodeled and resold several homes in Whittier Mill Village and who has called Riverside home for his company, New Village Companies, told The Story the selling price was $200,000 less" than the asking price.
Riverside real estate agent Keith Sharp, who heads up the Riverside association's Parks Committee, told The Story that he understood the Trust for Public Land wanted " to tie up Harrison's property and then go after the city for the incinerator site," which he said is about 11 acres. He said Georgia Power also has about 60 acres in three parcels along the Chattahoochee - a floodplain buffer between the river and the railroad tracks - on which he said he believes the Trust may have already negotiated conservation easements with Georgia Power.
 Sharp, association president Scott Foerst and community activists Gordon Kenna have for months been actively working - largely behind the scenes - trying to put together the city's incinerator site along the river and connect the community to the river and Whittier Mill Village. Part of the plan is to provide a trail along the river all the way from Standing Peachtree Park to Whittier Mill Park.
Although no direct mention of the pending purchase of Harrison's property was mentioned at last weeks Riverside Neighborhood Association meeting, Foerst and Kenna reported to residents on meetings they had with representatives of the Path Foundation regarding an opportunity involving pathways for walking, jogging and bicycle riding, and two major trail systems that might converge at Paul Avenue in Riverside - one a trail along the Chattahoochee River and the second trail from Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta to connect with the Silver Comet Trail in Cobb County.
Foerst and Kenna met with the Path Foundation representatives for a " brainstorming session" last week and discussed the two things Path is researching. "They are trying to figure out where is the right place to put that trail (along the river)," Kenna explained. " They don't want it to be too close to the river. In fact, they ant it to connect Whittier Mill Park with the developing park along James Jackson Parkway where the city incinerator is." He said that trail would be the river trail and would continue down to Fulton Industrial and Charlie Brown Airport.
Kenna said that trail will actually intersect with the trail from downtown that will connect to the Silver Comet Trail "and that will intersect somewhere around Paul Ave. So, you are going to end up with some major connections here of basically north - south and east  west trails - sort of the spaghetti junction of trail intersections. When you look at this five, 10, 20 years out, it will be a huge deal. You can envision thousands of people walking, bicycling on this trail on a regular basis every week."
Kenna said Path is not quite ready to finalize its plans. He said one huge consideration is where to cross the river with the trail, since one river crossing could cost $1 million.
Foerst explained Path is still a long way out on the project but came t the neighborhood for it's input into the plans.
The Path Foundation often works with the Trust for Public Land in developing trails through properties the trust purchases for parkland and to preserve as urban forest areas. The Arthur Blank Foundation has provided substantial funding to both Path and the Trust for Public Land over the past few years, become one of the cities largest continuous parkland areas and would stretch for miles along the Chattahoochee River.