ALPHARETTA, Ga. — The City Council took a big step Monday to fill in a missing link to the wildly popular Big Creek Greenway.
The council unanimously approved a $407,000 contract with Pond & Co. for design work on a 2.5-mile extension that will bring the path north from its present terminus at Marconi Drive to the Forsyth County line.
The work includes design of bridges to span creeks, tunnels under roadways and elevated structures to traverse wetlands. The design phase is expected to take from eight months to a year.
The Greenway, a linear park featuring a 12-foot wide path along Big Creek, runs about eight miles from Roswell north to Alpharetta. Plans have been in the works for more than five years to extend the concrete trail farther north up to the county line where it will connect with a trail – yet to be completed – in Forsyth.
“There will be some coordination with Forsyth in how we line it up,” Alpharetta Mayor David Belle Isle said.
Even with design work underway, however, Alpharetta must still acquire rights to property where the trail is proposed to run, which includes a stretch near or within the Golf Club of Georgia.
Those property rights are still pending, according to Alpharetta City Attorney Sam Thomas.
“We want to build it,” Thomas said.
City Councilman Chris Owens said the Big Creek Greenway extension has been incorporated into plans for the widening of McGinnis Ferry Road at the border with Forsyth County.
“We’re talking about a temporary wide sidewalk along the road to connect the two (trails), and once that road widening is done, people will be able to go underneath McGinnis Ferry Road,” Owens said. “It’s being designed and accommodated in the McGinnis Ferry Road project.”
The extension is being funded through a portion of a $52 million bond passed by Alpharetta voters in 2016. The list of projects on that bond referendum included $6.5 million for the extension.
Owens said the design work on the extension will give the city the details it needs to have discussions with property owners along the route and complete negotiations for land use.