The Salvation Army has donated 2 acres of its property located on the Northeast Expressway  to the city of Brookhaven to use as a trail head and plaza area for the Peachtree Creek Greenway.

The City Council voted at its Jan. 9 meeting to accept the donation.

“This is a critical piece of the Greenway,” Patty Hansen, project manager for the city, told the council. The acreage includes a portion of the Salvation Army’s parking lot where a plaza is to be built and will also provide Americans with Disabilities Act compliant parking for the Greenway, she said.

A rendering of the parking spaces and plaza area for the Peachtree Creek Greenway that will be built on two acres donated by the Salvation Army. (City of Brookhaven)

The city has been in talks with officials with the The Salvation Army’s Southern Territory Headquarters, located at 1424 Northeast Expressway and near Corporate Boulevard, for more than a year trying to secure the donation of property that will serve as a trail head for the “model mile” set to break ground this year.

The first mile of the Greenway will run from Corporate Boulevard that includes a portion of the Salvation Army property to REI at Briarwood Road.

“Brookhaven has been striving to improve its recreation and safe pedestrian transportation alternatives since our formation,” Mayor John Ernst said in a prepared statement. “This type of community partnership with the Salvation Army advances this initiative forward and brings us closer to the finish line. I want to thank the Salvation Army for their partnership and very generous donation.”

The Salvation Army partnered has partnered with the city since 2016, including a member serving on the Greenway’s Steering Committee and hosting a community outreach meeting.

“This donation is critical to getting the construction of the PCG underway, which provides park space, recreation and transportation alternatives to District 4,” City Councilmember Joe Gebbia said in a prepared statement. “I appreciate the Salvation Army’s commitment to Brookhaven and the PCG.”

The Greenway is an approximate 12-mile linear park envisioned to run along the north fork of the Peachtree Creek and connect Brookhaven to Chamblee and Doraville as well as to Buckhead’s PATH 400 and eventually to the Atlanta BeltLine. The north fork of the Peachtree Creek runs from Mercer University in unincorporated DeKalb County to near the PATH400 trail.

The city is working with the PATH Foundation on the design of its approximate 3-mile segment of the Greenway. In Brookhaven, the creek largely flows between Buford Highway and I-85. Masked by buildings and overgrowth, it can be hard to see even from bridges spanning it.

The city is currently using eminent domain to obtain approximately 19 acres of undeveloped land on Briarwood Road, where another trail head is slated to be built for the Greenway. The city and the private property owners entered into negotiations with a court-appointed special master in November, but in December the city stopped all talks and instead on Dec. 12 paid the property owners $340,000, its appraised value for the land. The property owners, attorney Mark Morgan and Lifestyle Family L.P., have said the property is worth $2.3 million. They have until Jan. 19 to appeal the city’s decision, according to city officials.

The city does own one parcel along the creek. It was granted by the Pink Pony strip club as part of a lawsuit settlement in 2014.

Dyana Bagby is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta Intown.