ARC, The Trust for Public Land, Cobb County and City of Atlanta Commission $1.5M Study to Create New Vision for Chattahoochee River

SCAPE Chosen as Firm to Develop the Chattahoochee Greenway Study

September 27, 2018
Atlanta

The Atlanta Regional Commission, The Trust for Public Land, city of Atlanta and Cobb County have commissioned a $1.5 million study to create a new vision for the Chattahoochee River.

The Chattahoochee Greenway Study will focus on a 100-mile stretch of the river, from Buford Dam on the north to Chattahoochee Bend State Park in Coweta County on the south. The study will outline new investments needed to increase public access including bicycle and pedestrian usage.

"The Chattahoochee is one of our region's most popular recreation spots, but access to the river remains limited in many areas," said Mike Alexander, Director of ARC's Center for Livable Communities. "The goal of this study is to make the river a focal point of the entire region while building on metro Atlanta's legacy of stewardship of this vital natural resource."

SCAPE, a New York-based landscape architecture and urban design studio, has been selected to conduct the 18 month-long study, which is expected to begin in October. SCAPE is a nationally renowned firm with an emphasis on creating positive change in communities through the creation of regenerative living infrastructure and new forms of public spaces.

"SCAPE brings an ecologically driven and socially conscious approach to all of our projects, and we are excited to work along the banks and shoals of the Chattahoochee with this collaborative team of regional partners and community groups. It is an honor to have this opportunity to collectively shape the future of the river and the region," said Gena Wirth, design principal with SCAPE.

The firm has worked on projects including Town Branch Commons in Lexington, Ky.; the Public Sediment project in the San Francisco Bay Area; and the Resilience Park in Norfolk, Va.

The Chattahoochee Working Group, a coalition of stakeholders that includes city and county governments, civic leaders and local and regional nonprofits have come together to inform and guide the planning process. There will also be opportunities for public engagement as the plan is developed.

The Chattahoochee River is the region's primary water source, providing water to more than 3 million people. In metro Atlanta, portions of the river are under National Park Service control, which offers access to the river for recreation and provides protection for dozens of miles of riverbank. Funded by public and private sources, the Chattahoochee Greenway Study will help define how the region wants to live, work and play along the river in the future.

"For decades, The Trust for Public Land has played a critical role in connecting people to the Chattahoochee," said George Dusenbury, Executive Director for the Trust for Public Land in Georgia. "As a region, we too often consider the Chattahoochee to be our back door; this study will help determine how to make it our front door—a part of people's everyday lives."

Cobb County and city of Atlanta have several projects in the works that advance the effort's vision. Leveraging its 160 miles of existing trails, Cobb County is looking to connect the Silver Comet Trail to the Chattahoochee River at two locations. And plans for a new 103-acre park fronting the river will include a 1.5 mile trail.

"This is the beginning of a new river trail network connecting Cobb County and city of Atlanta," said Eric Meyer, Planning Division Manager with Cobb County Department of Transportation.

"A greenway concept for the Chattahoochee River is a generational investment identified by The Atlanta City Design, which guides every phase of the city's planning work," said Tim Keane, Commissioner of the city of Atlanta Department of City Planning. "Also, our citywide Urban Ecology Framework, now underway, focuses on the city's critical relationship between nature and urbanism. Protecting the Chattahoochee and making public spaces along its edges is the next major step in connecting people with nature."