The GreenRoom: November 2007

• In another step forward for the Atlanta Beltline, the city will spend $30 million for a new park near City Hall East, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. The funds will secure land for a stormwater pond system that could eventually form the centerpiece of a 13 to 16 acre park adjacent to North Avenue. The park could double in size, with fountains, wetlands and walkable greenspace leading to Freedom Parkway.

The Trust for Public Land already has acquired 10 acres for the park, and a coalition of 11 businesses developing a portion of the Old Fourth Ward is supporting the plan. Ponce Park LLC, Emory Morsberg-er’s City Hall East redevelopment group, has donated two acres. The park could help connect Atlanta’s pedestrian-oriented neighborhoods: Little Five Points, Candler Park and East Atlanta. “I know of no other project in Atlanta at the moment that is engaging so many visionaries in the public and private sectors,” City Councilman Kwanza Hall told the AJC in early October.

• The Georgia Wildlife Federation (GWF) presented Dr. Wayne Beris-ford, research professor in UGA’s Department of Entomology, with $10,000 to help fight the hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA), an aphid-like insect that is decimating hemlock forests in Georgia’s mountains and affecting adjacent ecosystems.

GWF’s donation, which will fund a predator beetle production lab, highlights the organization’s focus on implementing State Wildlife Action Plan high priority actions to protect habitat and wildlife, both game and nongame, and triggered additional funding from the Turner Foundation to fight the HWA. The Georgia Sierra Club will host a Save Our Hemlock Festival Nov. 2-4 at the Starbridge Retreat near Dah-lonega, to raise funds and awareness. For details call 706-265-5282.

• Cobb County, Marietta and Smyrna recently announced a cooperative effort to create the Mountain To River Trail, stretching 13.5 miles from Kennesaw Mountain to the Chattahoochee River. The trail will build on an existing 1.7-mile path near the Kennesaw Mountain Na-tional Battlefield Park Visitors Center, and will be paved to allow for biking and hiking, much like the Silver Comet Trail stretching from Cobb to the Alabama border.

The next phase would follow Noonday Creek from Kennesaw Mountain, behind Town Center Mall on Barrett Parkway to Bells Ferry Road. The Cheatham Hill Trail eventually could run from Powder Springs Road near County Services Parkway to the park entrance on Cheatham Hill Road.

The county agreed to pay half the estimated $6.6 million to build the first sections of the Noonday Creek and Cheatham Hill Trails; the remaining sections, estimated to cost $5 million, will be covered by federal funding. – Ben Young

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