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New group aims to spruce up Peachtree Parkway

POSTED: March 16, 2014 12:05 a.m.
 

SOUTH FORSYTH -- Peachtree Parkway could become a more aesthetically-pleasing corridor to travel in the coming years through the efforts of a group of home and business owners.

The recently incorporated Peachtree Parkway Improvement District aims to beautify a 7-mile stretch of the well-traveled road, which is also known as Hwy. 141.

Carter Patterson, who chairs the group’s board, said the process began about two years ago when he started e-mailing public officials.

“Our medians look really bad compared to north Fulton [County] and, in fact, people know that they’ve entered Forsyth County when they see the medians,” he said. “It doesn’t really set the standard I think most people in south Forsyth would like.

“The only way we can get these medians handled is to get the homeowners associations and businesses to individually sponsor our group and put these together.”

Kristin Morrissey, the board’s vice chairwoman, said the group is not a community improvement district, though it could someday become one.

For the time being, the focus is on recruiting homeowners and businesses to donate money and resources to beautifying the medians and rights of way from Exit 13 on Ga. 400 southeast to Deer Lake Drive, just north of Johns Creek and McGinnis Ferry Road.

“It shows south Forsyth has some skin in the game. Hopefully if we do our part, it will get the ball rolling,” said Morrissey, who also serves on the county’s school and library boards.

According to Patterson, Walmart has donated $15,000, Scott’s Auto Center has donated $3,000 and Community Business Bank has donated $1,000, in addition to about $9,000 from local homeowners associations. But that was just to get the 501(c)3 organization up and running.

The group looks to secure long-term commitments. To aid that effort, it will spend the next month fixing up one of the 24 medians in the district to show what the corridor could look like, Morrissey said.

In the coming months, 4 Seasons Landscaping Group has volunteered to fully landscape a 29,000-square-foot median by Big Creek Elementary School.

When that project concludes in the spring, Morrissey said the organization will have something to show home and business owners.

“We’re hoping this may be a domino effect,” she said. “Many businesses along the area haven’t done much other than basic maintenance to their area. It’s not just the medians, it’s also the right of way.

“We’re hoping this is going to spark a fire. Once we make a change at one median, or start working on a right of way at one place, the businesses and homeowners are going to want to step up and make theirs look as good.”

The cost for the landscaping would normally be about $20,000, depending on size. Patterson said he anticipates the total cost for initial efforts will be about $1 million, plus an additional $100,000 for annual maintenance.

“This is not something we’re going to do for six months or a year. This is going to be an ongoing project,” Morrissey said.

According to Patterson, the goal would be for each homeowners association to ask its members for a $10-per-household annual maintenance contribution.

That would generate about $80,000 annually, plus contributions from businesses along the corridor.

In the meantime, the district’s board has reached an agreement with the state transportation department to receive its annual budget allotment of $17,500 for maintaining the existing grass.

“The state just mowed them [twice a year] before they turned them over to us,” Patterson said. “But there would be occasions where you’d see 3-foot, if not taller, weeds throughout the medians.

“We want to do a really good mow instead of a 90-mph mow. And we want to install good grass, not weeds, and we want it to look respectable, something you’d be proud to show your guests or neighbors.”

The timetable for corridor improvements is three years, according to Patterson. At that point, Morrissey added, the board would like to turn it into a community improvement district for the long term.

“Besides aesthetics, one of the thoughts we heard from people was for some sense of community and that’s one of the goals we have as well,” she said.

 

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