For the October print issues of Reporter Newspapers, we take a closer look at the future of parks and greenspaces in our coverage area. From placemaking parks like Buckhead’s HUB404 project to creating a dynamic set of trails and paths in Sandy Springs to new parks in Dunwoody and improvements in Brookhaven, the building of leisure spaces is a top priority.


HUB404 Atlanta, the planned 9-acre multipurpose “cap park” over Ga. 400 and MARTA’s Buckhead station at the northern gateway to the city of Atlanta, could create a regional destination that rivals parks in other major cities, according to organizers.

First announced in 2015, the park is the vision of the Buckhead Community Improvement District working with the nonprofit partner HUB404 Conservancy. The park would span from the Atlanta Financial Center, across Peachtree Street, over the Buckhead MARTA station, and then continue onto the Buckhead Loop, at the intersection of Ga. 400 and Lenox Road. The Buckhead CID is also planning an elevated pedestrian and bicycle bridge across the Buckhead Loop.

“HUB404 is a visionary, transformational project that will literally and figuratively build bridges in this community and add to the connectivity that isn’t there,” said Anthony Rodriguez, who started working full-time in August as the first executive director of the HUB404 Conservancy board. He was co-founder of Gwinnett County’s Aurora Theatre.

Another rendering of the HUB404 Park above the MARTA station in Buckhead.

“It’s groundbreaking in the fact that it’s not just going to connect to PATH400 but it’s also going to, by extension, connect to the Atlanta Beltline,” he said. 

Connectivity to the Buckhead MARTA station will also attract people from all over the metro region to view large public art displays and gather for public events, Rodriguez said. 

“It’s going to be an iconic place, in my opinion, on the scale of something like Millennium Park in Chicago where everyone will want to go and see this park,” he said.

Buckhead CID is now working to secure $8 million for engineering and design of the park and seeking federal funding for the project. Total cost for the park is estimated at $270 million. 

Rodriguez, who oversees private fundraising, said he is busy meeting with community leaders and corporate CEOs to lay the groundwork for a future capital campaign. He is also working on creating an educational component of HUB404 for people to understand the project better, including holding neighborhood and community meetings, possibly by the end of the year.


In Murphey Candler Park, the construction of a trail on the dam should be completed by the end of this year. By the time of this publication, the north boardwalk is expected to be open for public use.

The city is working on construction of a splash pad and pool at Lynwood Park, which is expected to be completed before the 2023 swim season. Parking and a synthetic turf field will be open earlier in the spring of next year.  

Earlier this year, the city took control of Brookhaven Park, approving a settlement with DeKalb County that transferred the eastern section of the park to the city and ending a years-long land dispute. The city can now make headway on Brookhaven Park improvements from the city’s $40 million park bond, which was passed in 2018.

According to city spokesperson Burke Brennan, construction plans have been submitted for permitting, and the project will go out to bid once those permits are approved. Construction is expected to start in early 2023. 

Planned improvements include a larger parking lot and a new building at the dog park, which will include restrooms, a pavilion, and a deck; a new playground and playground area with restrooms and a small pavilion; and a larger pavilion.

Brennan said that the city also plans to clean up the parks’ existing garden club area. The city will consider if the budget allows for a new pavilion for that area, and also consider a new stage area. 

Resident Mike Elliot said that he was happy to see the city move forward with improvements in Brookhaven Park after years of back and forth with the county. 
“Having been involved with the Brookhaven Park Conservancy for the past 15 years, the City of Brookhaven’s ownership of the entire park was welcomed and immediately noticed – most notably by their removal of the ugly decrepit chain link fence that fronted on Peachtree Road,” Elliot said. “Removal of this eyesore has been an objective of the BP Conservancy since its inception, and Brookhaven Park now looks much more attractive and inviting.” 

Brookhaven is also tackling invasive plant removal with a new partnership with the nonprofits EcoAddendum and ReForest ATL at Murphey Candler Park, Fernwood Park, North Druid Hills Greenspace, and Osborne Park. The partnership plans to use environmentally safe ways to remove unwanted species and train volunteers to assist with the effort.

A rendering of the boardwalk over Orkin Lake in Sandy Springs.

Sandy Springs 

A trail section from Morgan Falls Overlook Park along the Chattahoochee River to Roswell Road and an extension of PATH 400 along Ga. 400 are in the works as part of the Sandy Springs Trails Master Plan.

Some of the trails will tie into existing and planned public works project, according to Recreation and Parks Director Mike Perry. A side path along Mount Vernon Highway will install sidewalks from the Sandy Springs Library Branch to the MARTA station, he said.

Sandy Springs City Council approved a $7.8 million bid from GHC Corp. for the construction of Trail Segment 2A on Sept. 20, which will build a trail from Morgan Falls Overlook along Georgia Power and Fulton County easements, across Orkin Lake, and along Cimarron Parkway to Roswell Road.

City Council also accepted a $3 million grant from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to help fund the construction. Sustainability Manager Catherine Mercier-Baggett said that the city applied for a Conserve Georgia Grant in October 2021. The Georgia DNR awarded the grant to the city, and it will cover 38.5% of the trail’s construction costs.

If everything works out, construction could begin this month and be completed iN October 2023, Perry said.

Most of the trail will be a 12-foot-wide hard surface. Walkers, runners, bicyclists, and people wanting to access the river or Roswell Road will make use of this trail.

“The more trailhead parking opportunities we provide the more people that it will bring in. There’ll be adequate parking at Overlook, there’ll be parking down in the river park, down there by the dog park, we’ll have some parking there,” Perry said. “With more segments will come more trailheads and more access.”

How much more of the trail is built – and when – comes down to funding availability. The City Council wants to be responsive to the public, he said.

“I’m hoping we build the first segment and it’s a resounding success and it becomes a priority,” Perry said.

PATH 400 will extend the trail from Atlanta north into Sandy Springs, using TPSLOT funds approved by voters in 2016 and federal funds awarded through the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC).

“We have another section here that’s currently in final design and right of way acquisition for that project and it will extend the existing 12-foot path from Lourdes Drive right there in Atlanta, just north of the Glen Ridge Connector,” Sandy Springs spokesperson Dan Coffer said.

This section of the trial will be approximately 2.3 miles long. He said one day it would be nice to have it connect to some of the city’s other paths.

One access point to PATH 400 in Sandy Springs is Windsor Meadows Park at Windsor Parkway. Another is Ridgeview Park off South Trimble Road.

The city hopes to open bids in May 2023 for construction and is looking for any grant opportunities to help fund its trail, Coffer said. 

The master plan concept for the park on Roberts Drive in Dunwoody.


As the Dunwoody City Council explores the possibility of a capital projects bond referendum in 2023, a part of that bond could be to develop new greenspaces on Vermack Road, the former Austin Elementary School site on Roberts Drive, and improvements to the existing Brook Run Park.

At a Sept. 6 meeting, the council discussed the draft master plans for the two future parks projects, which are expected to be before the council for approval by the end of October. 

The draft plan for Vermack Road includes an open play area, a playground, pickleball courts, restrooms, pavilions, and a gazebo. The Roberts Drive draft plan included a multi-purpose field, tennis courts, pickleball courts, one full basketball court, two half basketball courts, an older and younger children’s playground, and a splash pad. 
City spokesperson Jennifer Boettcher said that consultants are developing some alternative site plans based on feedback from the Sept. 6 meeting. 

Another possibility that staff recommended at the Aug. 22 meeting was that council look at a $30 million bond to develop a citywide trail system. This would require a full citywide trail plan to be adopted by next year. 

At the Sept. 6 meeting, the council also approved an agreement with the PATH Foundation to move forward with creating a trails master plan. The formation of the master plan is expected to take six to eight months. 

Throughout the first round of town hall meetings about a bond this summer, some Dunwoody residents expressed concern over the city’s communication efforts about the bond and the proposed timeline of the bond itself. Also at the Sept. 6 meeting, the council approved the creation of a Citizens Advisory Capital Improvements Committee, which is tasked with reviewing the city’s capital improvement needs and making recommendations to the council, according to city documents. 

The committee met for the first time on Sept. 14 and is expected to meet five more times before the end of the year. The committee’s last meeting is Dec. 7, but Vinicki said it is possible they finish before that date. 

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

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

Sammie Purcell is Associate Editor at Rough Draft Atlanta.