By Katie Fallon

The mayor and city council have unanimously approved the city moving forward with the acquisition of a 27-acre tract of land that could only be used for a passive park.

The property, which was originally bought by the Miles family in 1903, is bordered by Riverside Drive and Dalrymple Road to the west and north and Brandon Mill Road to the east. It backs up to residential properties to the south. The land includes a home, which council members have toured, that was built in 1916.

District 5 Councilman Tibby DeJulio said the land, which is still owned by the Miles family, has now been offered to the city for a price tag of only $1 million. The Trust for Public Land, however, has already committed to raising half of that money.

“It’s really an exquisite piece of property,” DeJulio said. “It’s absolutely, undisturbed, virgin land.”

A provision of the land acquisition is that the city can only use the land as a passive park, which would cause minimum disturbance compared to, for instance, the city’s Abernathy Greenway Project. That project includes a 20-acre park that will stretch through a residential area on Abernathy Road from Johnson Ferry Road to Roswell Road. Plans for the linear park have included three designs of varying construction and environmental impacts. So far, the informal design, which includes the middle amount of impact amongst the three options, has been declared the preferred design by polls conducted by the design firm Post, Buckley, Schuh and Jernigan.

Although the city could end up raising the money for the acquisition the Miles property, City Manager John McDonough said the city’s budget for fiscal year 2008 would include $350,000 for the purchase of the 27 acres.

DeJulio endorsed the land purchase because of the scarcity of potential greenspace properties in Sandy Springs.

“There’s no way you’re going to find 27 acres like this anywhere,” DeJulio said.

The council voted unanimously to draft a letter of support for purchasing the Miles property.

In other actions, the city council also approved a $1.5 million resurfacing contract to CW Matthews, Inc. for a series of Local Assistance Road Program (LARP) projects designated by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT).

CW Matthews submitted the lowest of four contracts after the city received bids on April 25. The contract includes two LARP projects from 2005 and nine LARP projects from 2006.

While the council questioned why projects as much as two years old still had not been completed, the city’s Public Works Department shifted responsibility to the county, under whom Sandy Springs was beholden prior to its incorporation in December, 2005.

“Fulton County did not follow through with these projects when it first got the award,” said Public Works Director Angelia Parham.

The projects include patching, surface preparation, resurfacing and stripping on major thoroughfares such as Roberts Drive from Roswell Road to Dunwoody Place and Spalding Drive from Roswell Road to Dalrymple Road.

The city, however, will not be responsible for the entirety of the contract. GDOT’s contribution towards the resurfacing will be $411,073. The city will be responsible for the remaining $1,104,897. While the city will have to front the entire cost, it will be reimbursed by GDOT. If the city did not approve a contract, it would have forfeited GDOT’s financial commitment to the projects.