The Dunwoody City Council has approved a master agreement and professional services agreement with the PATH Foundation to get started on a trails master plan.

The city first heard from the PATH Foundation, a group that works to develop trail networks throughout the metro area, at an Aug. 8 meeting. The city is moving forward with a master plan despite residents; concerns about trail plans, as well as before a possible bond referendum next year. 

At the council’s Sept. 6 meeting, it approved a master agreement as well as a professional services agreement. The master is the overall agreement with the PATH Foundation, which would also allow PATH to take the lead on design and construction management of trails under the master plan, according to city documents. Those projects and contracts would have to come back before the council for approval. 

The professional services agreement is for the development of the trails master plan specifically. The formation of the master plan is expected to take 6-8 months and cost no more than $99,480. 

The council approved the agreements by a vote of 6-1. Councilmember John Heneghan voted against the agreements. At the Aug. 8 meeting, he brought up concerns about the PATH Foundation’s focus on greenway trails, which are trails separated from traffic that operate within greenspace. He brought up similar concerns at the Sept. 6 meeting. 

“Greenway trails is what the PATH Foundation is very good at doing,” Heneghan said. “Unfortunately for us, greenway is a hard definition to say that we’re going to be able to do here in the city of Dunwoody.”

Other council members expressed excitement over the agreement. Councilmember Joe Seconder said he was confident in PATH’s ability to adapt to urban environments. According to their website, PATH has worked on numerous trails throughout the metro Atlanta area, including the Nancy Creek Greenway, segments of the Beltline, and the Peachtree Creek Greenway. 

Councilmember Tom Lambert said he hoped having a trails master plan would alleviate residents’ concerns about trails in the city. Over the past few months, multiple residents have voiced concerns about the city’s future trail plans, particularly a multi-use path along Tilly Mill Road. 

“If we have a standard and we have a total vision, it’s much easier to present that to the public and get real feedback from them,” Lambert said.  

Sammie Purcell is Associate Editor at Rough Draft Atlanta.