For many years now, the city of Sandy Springs has made it a point to say that revitalization in our city is not about gentrification, or even displacement.
And yet — that is exactly what is happening. Recently, the city council approved the Trail Master Plan, which is comparable to the Atlanta BeltLine. And to be clear, we are in favor of the trails and know that they will enhance our community.
However, we know that the BeltLine made clear mistakes, as was acknowledged by the Mayor in the kickoff meeting for the city’s North End Revitalization Task Force.
At Sandy Springs Together, we feel it’s necessary to educate our community about the mistakes that have been made — and that Sandy Springs is about to make, as well.
We would like to call on the Sandy Springs government to anticipate the obvious, and proven, consequences this decision will have on housing affordability in our city — a direct result of the proposed Master Trail System– and to take the necessary steps to avoid further displacement of hundreds of working families.
Many different studies have shown that this type of trail system will increase adjacent property values by as much as 30%. Since much of the property adjacent to the proposed non-motorized route is where our workforce lives in multi-family communities, we are concerned that the city is not looking at this project, or any of the revitalization projects, from a total land use perspective.
You see, smart cities look at their revitalization projects in their totality, and follow that by coming up with a plan that preserves the affordability of housing, all the while not discouraging new development. This was done in Washington, D.C. where a plan was created to minimize displacement AHEAD of development of a linear park.
We feel strongly that it can be done here as well.