Editor’s note: This blog has been updated since the original post.
An ambitious plan to “cap” part of Ga. 400 near Lenox Square and the Buckhead MARTA station with a park may have a little more momentum, the Curbed Atlanta website is reporting.
The Buckhead Community Improvement District has studied the idea of topping the busy freeway and MARTA station with a nine-acre stretch of green space. Other cities have taken similar paths with their unsightly highways. And Atlanta does have the Fifth Street bridge park over the Downtown Connector linking Georgia Tech and Midtown as an example.
The Buckhead CID said this week it will issue in October a request for proposals “to take the concept of a park over GA 400 and the Buckhead MARTA station and further evaluate planning, design, engineering, costs and funding models to create nine acres of open space out of thin air in the heart of Buckhead’s commercial core.”
On its blog, the Buckhead CID said:
Discussions are in the works for a new public park over a section of Georgia 400 in Buckhead. The park would develop an underutilized area, with hopes of creating an urban community gathering spot, increasing market value of the surrounding properties and improving the quality of life of residents and workers in the area.
In April 2015, the Buckhead CID hired Jacobs Engineering Group, an international technical professional services firm, to develop early-stage conceptual plans. It may be close to a decade before a park is realized, but plans for the park include easy access to MARTA and a variety of potential uses, such as a restaurant, food market, dog park, a stage for performances and plenty of lawn space for informal play, relaxation or other interesting programs.
The park could also connect to the PATH400 Greenway, which is currently in development. The first phase of PATH400 is complete, connecting Old Ivy Road to Tower Place. When the entire project is finished, it will be a five-mile-long multi-use trail connecting Buckhead’s parks, trails, schools, neighborhoods and urban center to the Atlanta BeltLine trail and two trails under development along the north and south forks of Peachtree Creek.
The CID said it is “still in the beginning stages of developing a clear vision for the park, but we know that it can be done.”
The Ga. 400 park idea comes as the city of Dunwoody is looking to build a new connector road, which would include a pedestrian trail to provide a new link to I-285 and cloistered office parks in the congested business district near Perimeter Mall.
***UPDATED: Buckhead CID Executive Director Jim Durrett said the group will fund the RFP. Durrett said he expects the project, if the board opts to go forward, will likely seek a mix of funding, including money from the CID, philanthropies, and local, state and federal sources.
“We’re looking for teams that can take this from a concept to the point where we have a much better understanding of how it can be constructed, what it would cost to construct it and what the community wants and needs in an open space,” he said.
Read more about the park plans here.