- By Mitchell Northam The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The city of Milton is spending big to acquire more greenspace.
Last week at a City Council meeting, the city approved a contract to purchase 109.59 acres of greenspace from Wolff Investments L.P. for about $3.84 million. Approving the contract does not guarantee the purchase though, as there is now a 90-day due diligence period for the city to complete, allowing it to survey the land and gather environmental details.
“It doesn’t mean that we’re locked in,” Mayor Joe Lockwood said at the council meeting. “We have some things that have to be worked through and confirmed. This is the first stage… Overall, I think this is a great thing.”
The property is made up of four parcels of varying size along Lackey and Sweetapple roads in the southwest portion of the city. The price breaks down to about $35,000 per acre.
The property includes 6,000 feet of Little River’s stream tributary and a 2.5-acre pond. Threatened and endangered species that live on the property includes the Cherokee Darter fish and Michaux's Sumac plant. It is also a migratory bird path for five different species.
“This property has some existing soft-surface trails that could be utilized,” city spokesperson Shannon Ferguson said. “Any long-term planning decisions for newly acquired parks and greenspace would be decided in the future.”
If the sale is completed, it will be paid for using Milton’s greenspace bond funds.
The property was recommended by the Milton Greenspace Advisory Committee, a citizen-led committee created by the city in 2017 to help facilitate the property evaluation process for the 2016 citizen-approved $25 million greenspace bond referendum. This is the second purchase Milton has made under the greenspace bond program and it now has acquired a total of 249.38 acres of greenspace.
"Our committee has worked extensively with the Georgia Conservancy over the last year to carefully evaluate and prioritize possible greenspace options within Milton," committee chair Colt Whittall said in a statement. "This is a beautiful tract of land that met a number of key selection criteria including water resources, natural areas, and wildlife habitat."
The seller will retain three acres of the property.