Roswell bartering with feds to end reversible lanes
by Joan Durbin
December 09, 2012 12:00 AM | 3113 views | 1 1 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Roswell — It’s just 1.1 acres of land on South Atlanta Street, but to Roswell officials it’s a key piece of the city’s ambitious plan to eliminate the reversible lane on the heavily traveled roadway.

The sliver of property, roughly from Warm Springs Circle to the Chattahoochee River, belongs to the National Parks Service.

That agency is willing to hand it over to Roswell for free, but there are some significant strings attached.

The NPS has submitted a list of projects it would like Roswell to take on in exchange for the land.

The list includes constructing new trails into the federal property on both sides of Vickery Creek, restoring the Ivy Mill ruins and putting in a boardwalk trail to the site, building a new pedestrian bridge across Vickery Creek inside NPS property and incorporating expensive architectural features in two new bridges planned on Riverside Drive across the creek to Atlanta Street.

Additionally, the Park Service is asking that the city build a new parking lot to serve the historic Allenwood site. The proposed lot would not be within park boundaries and the deal would be contingent on its acquisition.

In a recent transportation committee meeting, Roswell council members said the city should counter with its own list of outstanding permits and

projects it wants from NPS.

“They want quite a bit for that right of way,” said Councilman Jerry Orlans.

“I think we need to tie in all the loose ends with NPS when we’re dealing with them.”

“These are things we’ve been asking for a long time,” said Councilman Kent Igleheart. “I think we should push as hard as we can.”

Among those items are go-aheads needed to extend the Riverwalk.

“We have been patiently working with numerous NPS staff for approval since June of 2007 on the extension of the Roswell Riverwalk which runs from the intersection of Azalea Drive and Willeo Road to the traffic signal at the Chattahoochee Nature Center,” said Jeff Pruitt, Roswell’s administrator for park services.

“Likewise, at NPS request, plans for Phase V of the Roswell Riverwalk, which picks up from there and extends to the Cobb County line at our Willeo Park, were submitted for approval at the same time.”

After the committee meeting, Roswell Transportation Director Steve Acenbrak said the federal agency’s proposal is clear. “This is the price of the land. It’s bartering. It’s a horse trade.”

According to the Park Service’s estimate, the new pedestrian bridge alone could cost around $200,000. Other costs, such as the desired architectural features on the traffic bridges on Riverside Road, can’t yet be quantified, Acenbrak said.

While Roswell had already planned to install the new traffic bridges as part of its Historic Gateway Plan, items like building a parking for the NPS near Allenwood or a new pedestrian bridge on Park Service land are not direct benefits to all Roswell citizens, he said.

But “right now it sits well with me that these are reasonable requests on their part for what they are prepared to give up,” Acenbrak said.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
Gringo Bandito
December 09, 2012
The NPS is subject to the same laws that everyone else is. Roswell should just take the land through eminent domain and pay the NPS fair market value. It will surely be cheaper than the projects Roswell is being asked to complete.
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, and spam will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides