A new Sandy Springs Veterans Park in the triangle of land across Roswell Road from City Springs may start construction by the end of this year after the City Council approved a $5 million design during its March 16 meeting.

City Manager Andrea Surratt said with council’s approval, the staff will make the park a high priority, getting it out for bid by the fall with construction beginning as soon as late this year. The Veterans Park will be part of the city’s next fiscal budget, which begins in July.

This “after” concept rendering shows the scale of elements of Veterans Park. The City Springs fountain and the Veterans Park fountain can be seen flanking Roswell Road. (Sandy Springs)

Veterans Park has been delayed by a lawsuit over tearing down billboards on the site, which gained the nickname as “the wasteland.” The city won the dispute and demolished the billboards in September 2020.

As far back as September 2017, the city envisioned construction projects around City Springs that included a park in this triangle between Mount Vernon and Johnson Ferry. 

This view shows the “wasteland” after billboards were torn down, with City Springs in the background across Roswell Road. (Sandy Springs)

The park would feature a two-level fountain, a monumental sculpture and a Veterans Plaza, said John Fish of BARGE Design Solutions of Atlanta.

Steve Provost of BARGE Design Solutions is the lead designer, a role he also held for the City Springs project.

Mayor Rusty Paul deferred to the two veterans on the City Council for their opinions.

“I think it looks great Rusty, I really do. It’s better than I expected it to look,” said Councilmember Tibby DeJulio, a Vietnam veteran.

“One of the things that this park to me does is it makes a statement to our veterans that tells them that they were worth it,” City Councilmember John Paulson, also a Vietnam veteran, said. “I want to make sure that they’re proud of this. I want to make sure that they know we’ve acknowledged them with the park of this size and scope and grandeur. So I think it’s fantastic.”

This aerial view of the Veterans Park shows City Springs at the far left, with the triangle section fo the park across Roswell Road. The design takes into account the reconfiguration of Mount Vernon Highway and Johnson Ferry Road in a separate project. (Sandy Springs)

The walkway and fountain were designed to mirror the fountain at City Springs.

“It’s really a key arrival point. We’re really wanting to celebrate that this is the heart of Sandy Springs that you’ve arrived at City Springs, Fish said.

Veterans Plaza will have a paver walkway with a granite ring around it. In its center will be granite monuments for the seven military branches and an eighth monument to share the story of the park. The design is to make the plaza its own distinct place within the overall park, Fish said.

DeJulio suggested using the pavers as a fundraiser for the park and putting veterans’ names and units on the bricks.

Councilmember Jody Reichel suggested instead of pavers that the city consider installing a digital marquee that would enable visitors to scroll through all veterans’ names and allow the city to continuously add names to the list.

The park’s eastern border is with the Sandy Springs Library.

“I’m really happy to see the connectivity from the Sandy Springs Library parking lot. Because that does provide space for people to park and walk over very safely. They won’t even have to cross Roswell Road,” said Councilmember Andy Bauman.

A 12-foot-wide multi-use trail going through Veterans Park ultimately will connect to the Sandy Springs Marta Station, he said.

A closer look at the triangle portion shows the walkway along Roswell Road with the two level fountatin, an open lawn space on either side of a monumental sculpture and the oval Veterans Plaza. (Sandy Springs)
The Veterans Plaza is given its own sense of place with pavers, a granite ring and small flowering trees that offer shade. (Sandy Springs)
This view shows a look from the Mount Vernon Highway side of the sculpture looking back toward the Veterans Plaza with its eight granite monuments. (Sandy Springs)
A drive west on Johnson Ferry Road shows the Veterans Park with the Veterans Plaza catching the eye. (Sandy Springs)
Cross section A shows the frotn of the park from Mount Vernon Highway, while B is a look from Roswell Road from the vantage point of City Springs. Both show the suggested size of the main sculpture, though the design in all images is intended only as a placeholder. (Sandy Springs)

Bob Pepalis covers Sandy Springs for Rough Draft Atlanta and Reporter Newspapers.