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Greenway connectivity explored for north Forsyth
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Forsyth County News

NORTH FORSYTH — Forsyth County plans to explore the possibility of creating connectivity to the popular Big Creek Greenway through bicycle trails in District 4.

The subarea plan, discussed during a county commission work session in September, was approved Oct. 2 via a 3-1 vote with Commissioners Jim Boff opposed and Brian Tam absent.

The project was proposed by the county’s planning and community development department at the request of Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills, who represents the district, which covers much of north Forsyth.

Mills said the plan was in the “earliest infancy of just an idea.”

“It came out of really a lot of emails I had gotten from people complaining that the [commission] didn’t have a vision for what they’d like to see the county grow into,” Mills said. “People complained that we were much more reactive than proactive.”

If the plan is approved, developers might be required to build bike paths, or “spurs,” from the greenway, once it reaches Sawnee Mountain, back to individual neighborhoods. The county is currently working to extend the greenway to the mountain.

“You create spurs that ultimately lead to connectivity to the greenway,” Mills said. “In the past, we’ve looked at subdivisions as being isolated … hopefully, if it’s done the way we’re hoping, developers would build a recreation component for the county.”

Mills said that the plan was proposed to accommodate younger demographics that likely will want more bike paths and a chance to brand the county as an active place to live.

“All they’re going to do is look at the possibility of, ‘Where do we go from here? How do we develop a plan,’” Mills said. “We’re looking at, in branding the county, what is your greatest asset? And a lot of those were our natural resources.

“Hopefully it would create a place people would want to come and live, because they have that lifestyle,” she said. “It promotes a wellness lifestyle that people are looking for.”

The proposed subarea would stretch from Lake Lanier to Sawnee Mountain and up to the Etowah River Blueway in the northwest corner of the county, Mills said.

“We have now an opportunity, that we have enough available land … that there are several tracts of land that you could do this, if you planned accordingly now, if you had a vision to do it,” she said.