Brookhaven declines federal funds for next phase of Peachtree Creek Greenway

Brookhaven is rejecting federal funding to build the next phase of the Peachtree Creek Greenway, claiming the city can do it faster and for less money. 

After twice deferring a vote on an engineering contract with Moffat and Nichol, Brookhaven City Council unanimously voted on April 9 to reject $1.28 million in federal dollars to build Phase III of the Peachtree Creek Greenway – the segment that stretches from Briarwood Road to Clairmont Road. 

Brookhaven had committed to paying a part of the overall cost. Now, they’ll foot the bill alone. 

“We’re going to do it faster and we’re going to save taxpayer dollars. It’s that simple,” Mayor John Park said.

The city believes it can expedite the project three to five years faster and millions of dollars less by avoiding construction inflation, said City Manager Christian Sigman. 

Phase I was built with “local resources” in about 36 months.

Phase II, estimated to cost $20 million, is primarily being funded by federal dollars via the Atlanta Regional Commission. Federal funding requires an agreement with the Georgia Department of Transportation, adding up to five years to the execution.

Phase II is a more complicated and costly project that fits well into the federal funding model, projected to take about eight years from the award of federal funds to build out, said Brookhaven Communications Director Burke Brennan,

Sigman said, “Based on our experience and the length of executing a project using federal resources and the requisite requirements that come with that, along with coordinating with the anticipated expansion of the Atlanta BeltLine to the Brookhaven city limits and the completion of Phase II, staff is recommending that we forego the federally funded process and fund Phase III 100% with local dollars.”

“I want to send a clear message to our partners. This is getting done. It’s going to get done sooner. I want the ARC to know that. I want our regional partners, DeKalb County, Chamblee you’re next, and our partners at Atlanta. This helps realize the vision of connecting from the BeltLine all the way to Gwinnett County,” said Park. “So we’re going to be the leaders on this and not just follow. Everyone else is on notice. Get your get your stuff done.”

The goal is to eventually connect the Peachtree Creek Greenway to the Atlanta BeltLine and PATH 400.

The Peachtree Creek Greenway runs parallel to Buford Highway, one of the most dangerous roads in Georgia.

“Brookhaven as a local government can act more rapidly to turn that around, taking our people off deadly roads and onto safe transportation facilities connecting them to where they need to be—faster, and more efficiently,” said Brennan.

“The census tracts served by this phase are both rated Historically Disadvantaged for Transportation by the US DOT and Areas of Persistent Poverty. By bringing this project to this community on an expedited timeline we will bring safe, healthy, and no-cost pedestrian transportation to centers of employment, transit, green space, commercial centers – and ultimately to the region,” Brennan added.  

Phase 1b of the Peachtree Creek Greenway was dedicated on March 20. (File)