Sandy Springs has adopted its new parks master plan, calling for a $105 million in upgrades, new parks and dog parks, a swimming complex and community center.
The update to the city’s existing recreation and parks master plan, which also calls for creating 203 acres of new park land, was passed by the City Council at its Feb. 19 meeting. The update was drafted by an advisory group of local community members and led by a consultants over several months last year.
The plan projects the city will need 437 acres by 2027 based on its expected population, and plans to fill that by buying new property to keep a range of park sizes and trails, according to the plan.
The plan’s recommendations are expected to cost $90 million for new parks and trails and $14.5 million for existing park improvements.
A public meeting was held, but much of the public input came from a survey that asked over 500 residents their opinion of the current park service and what is needed, said Mike Perry, the director of recreation of parks.
The short-term projects that are expected to begin over the next 10 years include:
- Purchasing new park property
- Expanding Allen Road Park; developing connectivity to neighboring cities
- Building a natatorium/community center at the north end of the city
- Constructing a cultural center in the City springs area
- Replacing the current dog and building new dog parks
- Making improvements to Heritage Sandy Springs and Morgan Falls ballfields; and
- Developing a community art plan.
While many details will need to be worked out about most of the proposed projects and additional funding will likely need to be considered, Councilmember John Paulson said the plan is the start the city needed.
“This is a good start,” Paulson said. “Without a plan, without a vision you don’t know where to start. I’m in favor of moving forward with this and then lets see what we can do to make it happen.”
A particularly expensive project, the proposed natatorium on the north end, may be best funded by public-private partnership to buy the land and operate it, Perry said. The idea is one of major concepts proposed by the North End Revitalization Task Force that wrapped up its recommendations to spur redevelopment in the area last year.
Councilmember Andy Bauman said the plan is “ambitious as it should be.”
“I look forward to funding and doing every single one of these,” he said.