A Buckhead group promoting parks and green space recently became a public land trust, meaning it can own and acquire park space.

Livable Buckhead’s announcement was tucked in a Jan. 5 press release regarding its receipt of the Tower Place Park, meaning the park will remain a green space off limits to development. The building’s owner, Regent Partners, donated the park space in exchange for a tax break.

Tenants of the office building and nearby condominiums use the .85-acre park for walking their dogs or eating lunch.

The land trust designation gives Livable Buckhead more options when it comes to developing park space, Executive Director Denise Starling said.

“It is a great thing,” Starling said. “(If) the city cannot take property or potential owners don’t want the lands operated by the City or we need to be in the mix to transfer ownership of land, it creates flexibility in park acquisitions for us.”

District 7 Atlanta City Councilman Howard Shook, whose district is the primary focus of efforts to increase green space in Buckhead, said Livable Buckhead will partner with Atlanta the way other land-trusts have to create more parks.

“Livable Buckhead in taking on this capacity is going to be able to act as a vehicle to help the community acquire the green space we need,” Shook said.

Gordon Certain, secretary for the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods, said private ownership of parks will be a plus for the community. Certain and other BCN members discussed the news at a recent meeting.

“There are advantages to having a private park, because you can set your own hours,” Certain said.

Certain added that liability for these parks is also an issue.

In the case of the Tower Place Park, Livable Buckhead will not be responsible for the liability.

“Operating expenses for the park are supported through agreements with the surrounding property owners, ensuring that Livable Buckhead is not taking on any financial liability associated with the park,” the organization said in its press release.

Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt wrote for Reporter Newspapers from 2011 - 2014. He is the founder and editor of Decaturish.com