unspecified-1Plans to connect Buckhead to an urban wilderness is getting a big boost. The Kendeda Fund has pledged $500,000 to South Fork Conservancy, which builds and connects trails along Peachtree Creek in Atlanta and DeKalb County. The Kendeda Fund’s many goals include sustainability and improving connections to the natural world.

The announcement of the grant coincided with the kick-off of South Fork’s first capital campaign: Revealing the Creek. The group hopes to raise more than $2 million to build a pedestrian bridge, footpaths and other improvements that will link the Lindbergh area, PATH400 and the Atlanta BeltLine to South Fork’s existing creekside trails.

“Kendeda’s magnificent grant gives us a solid base on which we can work to raise additional money – including promised matching funds – and demonstrates that our goal is within reach,” said South Fork Board Chairman Bob Kerr.

Key South Fork supporters heard the news at a recent event hosted by capital campaign co-chairs Billy Hall and Joni Winston. Shortly before the surprise announcement, urban planner Ryan Gravel, best-known for inspiring the Atlanta BeltLine, recalled collaborating with Hall and Sears on South Fork’s initial vision plan.

“This topography and this terrain and this kind of watershed is all over Atlanta, but ‘all over Atlanta’ isn’t doing this,” said Gravel. “I think that the South Fork vision here is a real model for the rest of the region in terms of connectivity, stream restoration, nature, biodiversity and all the other kinds of elements that are part of this plan.”

For information on donating, or visiting South Fork’s four completed urban wilderness trails, visit SouthForkConservancy.org.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.