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Posted by on August 16, 2012.

Sandy Springs Lost Corner waits to be found

A photo of a stream bed from Lost Corner Preserve in Sandy Springs, submitted by Sandy Springs Conservancy.

Lost Corner Preserve may be the most beautiful park very few people have ever seen.

But the park could be on its way to being found now that the park’s caretakers have received a $90,000 grant to build trails that will allow the public to enjoy green space that’s been closed off for years.

The 26-acre park is located on the western side of Brandon Mill Road and is bordered by Riverside Drive. The property’s obscurity also inspired its name.

There are tall oak trees, planted at least 100 years ago and left untouched by the family of Peggy Miles, the woman who sold the land to the city for use as a passive park. The park, located within 2,000 feet of the Chattahoochee River, is dotted with streams and rock falls, as well as the Miles family home.

That’s the postcard description, obtained from interviews and press releases. The real Lost Corner has been mostly hidden from public view since the city obtained it in 2008.

Linda Bain, executive director of the Sandy Springs Conservancy, said the park’s a mess right now. It’s overgrown and the house is unstable. But as the conservancy spends the $90,000 to build the trails, it also will be an opportunity to get the park ready for future visitors.

“The trail allows people to get into the park,” Bain said. “It’s like putting in the spine and being able to build the body around it. It’s the first critical piece.”

It’s still not certain when activity at the park will pick up. The city accepted the grant at its Aug. 7 meeting. In addition to the $90,000 Georgia Department of Natural Resources grant, the conservancy also will contribute $25,000, plus volunteer hours.  The city also needs to install an access road from Brandon Mill with a parking lot, Bain said.

Bain and others involved with developing Lost Corners say it will be worth the wait.

The city initially put in $416,000 to buy the property, combining that with a $250,000 state grant and $170,000 in donations. Miles sold the property at a deeply discounted rate so future generations could enjoy the property as she did.

Curt Soper worked with the governor’s green space program in 2008 and now currently serves as executive director for the Georgia Trust for Public Land.  At the time of the purchase, his agency administered the grant applications. When the state biologists investigated the property, they found it much as it was when the Miles family bought it in 1915. He said he’s certain the owner or her family never cut down a tree, something that’s rare in Georgia.

“When it is open to the public, people are going to be amazed by this place,” Soper said.

Ralph Daniels, chief of staff for Fulton County Commissioner Tom Lowe, helped raise money to buy the land. He said the fundraising began right as the economy tanked in 2008, cutting off the conservancy from many potential donors.

He said the state money made the project a reality. In addition, as part of the deal the Trust for Public Land, which purchased the land to keep it from being developed, set aside two acres that would be used to pay for Miles expenses if she needed it. She passed away in 2008.

That property has been transferred to the city.

Daniels said the trails are an important part of the park’s future.

“I think it’s great,” he said.  “That’s what Ms. Miles wanted.”

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