Sandy Springs Conservancy Board Chair Jack Misiura, Mayor Rusty Paul, Councilmembers Melody Kelley and Melissa Mular, and PATH Foundation’s Pete Pellegrini break ground for the trail segment. (Bob Pepalis)

Ground was broken on Dec. 6 for the first trail segment since Sandy Springs adopted its Master Trail Plan.

City officials and staff, Sandy Springs Conservancy board members, PATH Foundation representatives, and Fulton County Public Works representatives were among the people gathered at Morgan Falls Park.

This trail section will link Morgan Falls Overlook Park to Roswell Road by traveling south along the Chattahoochee River and turning east to cross Orkin Lake. Future segments will create a loop around Morgan Falls Athletic Complex, the overlook park, the dog park, Orkin Lake, and eventually throughout the city under the Master Trail Plan.

“It’s just been an absolute pleasure to work with the team that’s been working on this project for the past two years: City Council, city staff, PATH Foundation, KAIZEN Collaborative,” said Jack Misiura, Chair of the Sandy Springs Conservancy Board. “And I’m really, really excited that this moment has finally arrived.”

Sandy Springs Conservancy Board Chair Jack Misiura discusses the years it took to get to this groundbreaking. (Bob Pepalis)

 “We’re looking forward to creating an amazing network. I think the community will embrace and hopefully be the stepping stone to many great trail networks at the city,” PATH Foundation Project Manager Pete Pellegrini said.

Mayor Rusty Paul said the timing of the groundbreaking was very appropriate as the first meeting of the Sandy Spring City Council met 17 years ago on Dec. 5.

“I think it’s appropriate that on the day after Founders’ Day that we come out here and mark another important milestone in the history of Sandy Springs,” he said.

Paul said he wished the city’s first mayor, Eva Galambos, was still alive to see what had been accomplished over the last 17 years.

“When we started the city we felt it was very important that we take the resources that this community generates, and we plow it back into the community amenities that the community can enjoy, and that we also lay the groundwork for future,” he said.

This is the first project of a series that will be transformational for the city, Paul said. It will link a broad trial network across the entire metropolitan Atlanta area and hopefully over time connect in a statewide network with the Silver Comet Trail, the Atlanta BeltLline, and trails across the river into Roswell.

“I tell my folks in the Conservancy if you want the average citizen to be engaged in protecting the river, you need to give them more access than just driving over it on Roswell Road or Johnson Ferry or wherever else we cross it,” Paul said. “If they come out here and see the beauty and see the river in its natural setting, you’ll have much more support in creating the community support the public support you need to protect this magnificent natural setting that we have.”

Mayor Rusty Paul noted that a day after Founders Day, the date 17 years ago when the city was formed, it was appropriate to start another project to benefit city residents. (Bob Pepalis)

Bob Pepalis

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