Molly Welch, left, and Linda Bain present plans for Windsor Meadows.

Molly Welch, left, and Linda Bain present plans for Windsor Meadows.

A 4-acre floodplain near Windsor Parkway and Nancy Creek should become a quiet neighborhood park, according to members of the Sandy Springs Conservancy and the High Point Civic Association.

“There’s a pent-up demand for this kind of park,” said Linda Bain, the conservancy’s executive director.

The land was acquired by the city of Sandy Springs under a Federal Emergency Management Agency flood-relief program three years ago. The properties had flooded in the 500-year flood in 2009.

Former Sandy Springs City Councilman Chip Collins helped in an effort to establish a floodplain greenspace policy for the city that identifies land bought by the city under the FEMA program, and outlines FEMA guidelines for future uses. “When I joined the conservancy board last year, we endeavored to find the perfect start for this program, and we identified four acres along Windsor parkway,” Collins said.

And now the Conservancy and the HPCA have a plan.

David Perez, president of the High Point Civic Association and a Conservancy board member, told City Council at a recent meeting that neighbors abutting the property had signed off on the idea, and that the association will start working on
fundraising.

The groups want the city’s help in making sure the park adheres to FEMA guidelines, and they would like to see some city funding for the project in upcoming budget talks for the next fiscal year.

“It’s easily a park already,” said Molly Welch, a conservancy board member and landscape architect who designed the plans for the park.

Those plans include a walking trail as well as a lawn area and meadow, and possibly some overlooks along the creek.

“This area would be a lawn area, sodded or seeded,” Welch said, pointing to a map and plan of the park. “This [lawn area] is where we would keep it tidy, where you could throw Frisbees for your dog or kids, and maybe natural play elements like stepping stones where you could play hopscotch on or a log to walk
across.

“Everything would be natural — no fluorescent green slides. And this other area we see as the meadow area, with wildflowers in the summer.”

Plans also call for trees to be pruned, invasive plants to be removed, and native plants added. A split rail fence will be installed to keep cars from entering the property.

Welch said the city plans a sidewalk and a pedestrian bridge over Nancy Creek at Windsor Parkway, which will provide connectivity to the surrounding area.

Under FEMA restrictions, the park can’t contain any structures that would impede flood waters or structures that couldn’t stand the wear and tear of the water.

That, Bain said, falls in line with what the neighbors say they want.

“They don’t want bathrooms or parking, no real structures,” she said. “We’re always about economic development,” Bain added. “It makes homes more valuable. It makes neighborhoods more appealing to live
in.”

At the council meeting where Perez spoke, city officials seemed receptive to the idea. Mayor Rusty Paul directed staff to study the proposal, and City Councilman Tibby DeJulio, who represents the High Point area, said it was “really important” that residents know the council is seriously considering supporting the
park.

Bain said the park could be a great public/private partnership with the city.

“These kind of things are a great way for us to come in and work very closely with the neighborhood and make sure the plan is exactly what the neighborhood wants,” Bain
said.

Neighborhood parks, she said, make up a community’s “collective front yard.”

 

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