Livable Buckhead Executive Director Denise Starling spoke to the Buckhead Business Association on May 10.

Livable Buckhead wants to add more than 100 acres of green space to Atlanta’s District 7, but the group’s executive director says it will still need more than that in order to make the district’s parks system “world class.”

Executive Director Denise Starling spoke at the regular Buckhead Business Association breakfast on May 10. She is also executive director of the Buckhead Area Transportation Management Association, which operates ‘the buc’ shuttle.

District 7, represented by Councilman Howard Shook, has fewer than 100 acres according to a report published by Livable Buckhead, while District 8, represented by Councilwoman Yolanda Adrean, has 350.

Starling said it’s a big problem and something the group wants to remedy through its Buckhead Collection initiative.

“Our festivals are held in the parking lot of our favorite mall and that’s probably not the best ambiance,” Starling said.

Recently Livable Buckhead Became a public land trust, meaning it can accept donations of land that are tax deductible for the donors.

Starling said her organization’s initiatives, like a recycling program for Buckhead businesses, create the environment that attracts 20-somethings to move into the community.

Starling also updated the BBA on the group’s efforts to create a 5 mile Georgia 400 trail that will eventually connect to the Atlanta BeltLine project. The trail, estimated to cost $10 million, would create new opportunities for green space using unconventional ideas, like creating a park underneath the Georgia 400 overpass.

“You’d think building a park under a highway is terrible,” Starling said. “You’ve got a creek that runs right through the middle of it, a fantastic asset.”

The group is working on preliminary designs and getting public input. Construction could start in 2013 or 2014.

Dan Whisenhunt

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