By John Schaffner
editor@reporternewspapers.netA non-profit is seeking proposals for ways to expand the amount of green space in Buckhead.

The Buckhead Area Transportation Management Association (BATMA) has issued a request for proposals to develop a Buckhead Green Space Action Plan.

Dist. 7 Atlanta City Councilman Howard Shook sought the action plan after Atlanta’s Project Greenspace study recently identified Buckhead and Shook’s district (which includes all of Neighborhood Planning Unit B) as having less green space than any other area in the city.

The request for proposals was issued April 1 to some 50 companies on the consultant lists of the Atlanta Regional Commission and the city of Atlanta, according to BATMA Executive Director Denise Starling.

Responses are due to be returned on April 30.

Starling said the request for proposals should provide an indication of costs associated with developing the Green Space Action Plan for the District 7/NPU-B part of Buckhead. She said money for the plan has not yet been identified, but it could be funded through the Buckhead Commmunity Improvement District.

The BATMA initiative was discussed April 15 at the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods meeting and members of that organization questioned why the initiative could not be expanded to also include Dist. 8 Councilwoman Yolanda Adrean’s portion of Buckhead.

“I don’t want to get into telling Howard (Shook) how to do it, but the rest of Buckhead has the same problems as District 7,” said council of neighborhoods Secretary Gordon Certain Certain, who also is president of the North Buckhead Civic Association, which is both in Shook’s district and in NPU-B.

Starling said that there were initial thoughts of having the Green Space Action Plan project include all of Buckhead, but “there were issues of expense and focus.”

“The focus is more on urban issues with green space” in high-density development areas, which would not include District 8, Starling said. Also, Starling said, money for the project could come from the Buckhead CID, which does not extend into District 8.

There are big issues in District 7 and NPU-B, Starling explained, “because of the lack of available land and affordable land.”

This plan will look innovative resources for green space, she said, such as utility easements, public rights of way, and the incorporation of private properties such as possibly day care centers’ playgrounds.

She said the effort will be managed by BATMA. A steering committee of representatives from the city’s Department of Planning and Community Development and Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs, Trust for Public Land, Park Pride, commercial property owners and neighborhood representatives will guide the effort, Starling said.

Starling also said BATMA had set up a new 501 (C) (3) organization April 19 named Livable Buckhead. Livable Buckhead is being set up to be as flexible as possible, she said, and it could own land in the future.

She said the creation of the new non-profit reflects some shift in priorities, but primarily opens the door to obtaining funding for projects from foundations. Most of BATMA’s project funding has come from the federal government, Starling said, “which has become difficult at times.”