178 Riverfront Acres Donated to West Point, GA

West Point, GA, 8/10/2004: The Trust for Public Land, a national non-profit land conservation organization with an office in Georgia, donated 178 acres of prime river front property to the City of West Point in July. Formerly known as the Zachry tract, this new regional park property buffers nearly 3600 feet of river frontage and connects with the City’s existing, active recreation park to the south via a riverfront greenway. The conceptual plan for the new park includes multiuse hiking trails, scenic overlooks, picnic shelters, public boat launches and a 300-person amphitheater for community events.

“It’s really exciting when you see what the City of West Point, Troup County and Harris County are planning for their river fronts,” says David Kuechenmeister, project manager with the Trust for Public Land. “They’ve come up with an exemplary vision for not only preserving the significant resource values of the area, but creating an important amenity for the community through a public-private partnership.”

Kuechenmeister continues, “The positive impacts that a system of riverside parks, interconnected by a riverwalk greenway, could have on the immediate area and the region is significant and inspiring. With additional acquisitions, the envisioned riverwalk could extend some 2 miles to the north along the Chattahoochee River and link the new riverside park to West Point Lake, a major recreational resource in its own right, and with the Georgia DOT Welcome Center, approximately 2 miles to the south of the new park.”

“This project is the first in Troup County for the Chattahoochee Campaign,” says Billy Head, City of West Point mayor. “Working with the Trust for Public Land, we’ve not only been able to protect some important river frontage but we’ve also identified some meaningful recreational opportunities. And looking at similar scenarios around the state and in other parts of the country like Chattanooga’s Riverwalk, a 22-acre public walkway that follows the banks of the Tennessee River, a park that conceivably runs along both sides of the river could prove to be an important economic stimulus for the City of West Point.”

The Trust for Public Land’s Chattahoochee River Land Protection Campaign was started in the mid 1990’s. The goal of the campaign is to protect central Georgia’s drinking water and provide recreational opportunities by creating a 180-mile greenway along the banks of the Chattahoochee- a greenway that would stretch from Helen to Lake Lanier to Columbus, Georgia. As appreciation of the river’s unique value rises in both public and private circles, the Trust for Public Land, along with federal and state environmental leaders, local officials, citizen groups and private land owners, continues to protect endangered lands along the Chattahoochee River. No other natural resource plays such a vital role in the life of so many Georgians, providing drinking water to more than four million people.

To date, more than $160,000,000 has been raised for the Chattahoochee River Protection Initiative and over 70 miles have been protected along the river, representing over 48 separate land acquisition transactions and 13,280 acres. Added to previously existing parkland, over 146 miles of riverbank are now preserved.

About TPL: Founded in 1972, the Trust for Public Land specializes in conservation real estate — applying its expertise in negotiations, public finance, and law to protect land for people to enjoy as parks, greenways, community gardens, urban playgrounds, and wilderness. Across the nation, TPL has saved more than 1.9 million acres of land. In Georgia, TPL has helped protect land throughout the state – including nearly 70 miles along the Chattahoochee River. It has also conserved land on Georgia’s coast and rivers, and in urban centers. For more information, see www.tpl.org.