ROSWELL, Ga. — In its last regular meeting of the year, Roswell’s City Council voted 5-1, with Councilman Marcelo Zapata opposed, to sign a contract to construct a multi-use trail adjacent to Hog Wallow Creek.
Joining the council for the first time was Sean Groer, who recently won his bid for Post 3 in the Dec. 5 runoff elections.
The multi-use trail is part of a land exchange between the city and the Fulton County Board of Education along Vickery Mill Elementary. The 1,300 foot trail will run next to Hog Wallow Creek along the western side between Charles Place and Alpharetta Street.
The trail could one day become a portion of a larger trail that would increase connectivity between three nearby parks – Roswell Area Park, Waller Park and Groveway Community Park — and the school, Director of Transportation Steve Acenbrak said.
But the project was not approved without dissent. The council initially voted to defer the item to the next meeting in January 2018, but that vote ended in a tie. Mayor Jere Wood, acting as the tiebreaker, voted not to defer.
Mayor-elect Lori Henry said that when the plans were first brought to the council, there were no plans for a trailhead, and she was concerned about accessibility.
Acenbrak confirmed that under the news plans the trail would be open at all times and would not be gated by the school.
Wood said that the project was already approved and funded by the budget and the vote was on signing the contract for construction only.
The vote was nearly unanimous, with Zapata opposing.
Current council members Jerry Orlans and Nancy Diamond also took the time to say goodbye to the city and its staff during their last official meeting.
Orlans, who has served on the council for 25 years, was moved almost to tears as he recounted the years.
“I’ve met a lot of great friends, and I’ve known people throughout the city, no matter where they live, what they’re doing or what their background is,” Orlans said. “It’s been a lot of fun over the years. It’s been a lot of time, a lot of work, a lot of effort, but a lot of fun and a lot of positive progress.”
He also thanked Diamond and outgoing mayor Jere Wood for their support and work with the city.
“I moved here 35 years ago, and I did not know one person in Roswell,” Diamond said. “When I think about that now, it’s hard to even imagine…
“I came here not knowing a lot about this stuff, and the staff and other elected officials took me in instantly. The mentoring and the information sharing and the trust that we built is something I’m so, so grateful to be a part of and so proud to be a part of. Just being on this team has been an honor.”
Diamond also thanked residents for being an engaged community and for the increasing community engagement over the years.
“Every one of you has changed my life in some way, and I am grateful for that,” Diamond said.