I’ve never written a blog before, but no time like the present! I have somehow ended up as the spokesperson for a group we call Concerned Citizens about Livable Buckhead's GA 400 Path Project, which represents about 65 households in the North Buckhead area who are concerned about the GA 400 path that has been proposed.
I am not against greenspace, but I am against making a path at the expense of so many families in the area and an already existing natural greenspace. Below is something I previously wrote that I thought I would use as my first blog so you can have an idea of our perspective on the path.
I am a homeowner in Buckhead. I am lucky to own my own home. I live on a quiet dead end street where my child is free to run and play. But to live here, I had to make a concession; the Georgia 400 wall is essentially in my backyard. That’s OK though, because I love my neighborhood and the privacy it affords me.
However, a group called Livable Buckhead is trying to take this away from me. They believe that I need more community greenspace for my child to play, so they want to clear cut the natural tree barrier and wildlife refuge between my neighborhood and the wall to create a Path. They think this Path will make life better for people in Buckhead by giving them a place to walk and run and meet people in the community. But, really what it is doing is taking something that was once private and turning it into a steady stream of strangers within feet of many people’s back doors.
We will no longer be able to enjoy the deer and other wildlife that inhabit the natural greenspace, because their homes will be destroyed. The sound, shade, and visual barrier that lay between my home and the wall will be removed to make way for an 8 to 14 foot wide concrete path, according to Livable Buckhead’s literature on the GA 400 Path. Our quiet neighborhood will no longer be livable as it was; it will no longer be the same neighborhood that I wanted when I bought my house. The abundance of strangers will make it unsafe for my child to run and play as freely as he does now.
The fact that no parking is planned for Major Trailhead in my neighborhood means our neighborhood streets will provide this service. Some people might really want to have a Path in their backyard and wouldn’t mind their street being a parking lot, and I respect that choice. But it is not what I wanted. If so, I would live around Chastain Park or Piedmont Park or one of the many other Parks in the City.
People in my neighborhood, and the many others that are also being affected by the Path, request that we are respected for our choice. I am not opposed to greenspace and I am not opposed to the Path in general. What I am opposed to is the clear cutting of natural greenspace and the removal of privacy that I and many others bought into when we bought our houses. Would you want your backyard turned into a major thoroughfare?
There are many ways to achieve community greenspace that is not at the expense of natural greenspace and the people and wildlife that live in the area. For example, the ¾ acre park on the bridge at 5th street is an award-winning example of such a greenspace. It made greenspace where there previously was none. It beautified an otherwise unsightly bridge to the point that you forget you are over an interstate.
Another alternative is ending the Path they propose at Weiuca Road and beautifying Wieuca and making it pedestrian friendly all the way from Peachtree Road to Roswell Road, and then up to West Wieuca over to Chastain Park. This latter option truly fulfills Livable Buckhead’s stated mission to “provide local recreational and social opportunities including walkable and bikable connections to local schools and the commercial business district as well as to the Atlanta Beltline.”
Livable Buckhead should put their resources to better use and not destroy my neighborhood and so many others by destroying the natural greenspace and wildlife habitat that makes Atlanta so unique when compared with other major cities around the country. For being a “green” organization, their mission with the GA 400 Path is not very green - ask any child. They know removing 36 acres of 100+ foot tall trees to make way for concrete isn’t what’s best for the environment. Livable Buckhead should know better too. Please consider our side and try to imagine yourself in our position. Hundreds of families will be directly affected by what is proposed. But there are alternatives, unfortunately they are not being given due consideration, because Livable Buckhead stopped taking comments from the residents when they found out that there was opposition to their plan. Stay truly green - don't just claim to be - and be considerate of your neighbors.
Thanks for reading, Leanne