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Concern over connectivity in north Forsyth
Urgency grows as zonings increase
greenway
Based on the success of the Big Creek Greenway in south Forsyth, officials are looking at ways to add trails and connect them to neighborhoods in north Forsyth. - photo by FCN file photo

NORTH FORSYTH — The Big Creek Greenway has become such a popular local attraction that Forsyth County’s government is considering ways to link to and extend it in north Forsyth.

At their most recent work session, county commissioners heard updates on a proposed subarea plan for the north end. Though just in its infancy, the plan calls for trails running from Sawnee Mountain to near Lake Lanier, with paths branching off into neighborhoods.

“We are looking at some pathways that would connect neighborhoods and expansion of our greenway system,” said Vanessa Bernstein-Goldman, the county’s senior planner. “We’re also contemplating existing roadways that could accommodate any range of bicycle riders, including family routes.”

Bernstein-Goldman said she has spoken with three different firms about designing the subarea. And while commissioners didn’t take any action, they did direct her to prepare a request so they could have a more firm plan.

“This would focus on community health and would essentially expand bicycle and pedestrian mobility that could increase physical activity,” Bernstein-Goldman said. “The focus area would implement a route and way finding plan, and would complement existing plans.”

The project was suggested by Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills in response to complaints from her District 4 constituents who feel south Forsyth has expanded too rapidly, a fate they want the north end to avoid.

“This came from listening to the tons of emails that were complaining about not having any type of a vision for the county or for future, and complaining that the other parts of the county it had come too quick and we didn’t have time to do proper planning,” she said.

Mills said that this wasn’t only a planned amenity for those in the area, but also those who may potentially move there.

“This was a way of looking at it and saying, ‘Who are the people we want to attract to live here and what can we do to attract that and make it be quality?’ I don’t think you just gather input from people living in this area,” she said.

Though government doesn’t always work quickly, Mills said she hopes the commission can move somewhat swiftly as a few ideal locations are being rezoned.

“What worries me is that we talk about making the connectivity among subdivisions, and making the spurs get to the trails,” she said. “…  Right now, one of those 200 acres [of land planned to be used] is being zoned [for development], and we’re about to vote on it. It would have been a great spur with a great trail to connect.”