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Sandy Springs neighborhood gets city’s attention on rowdy park visitors

The Sandy Springs’ East Palisades Chattahoochee River Trail is inside the Perimeter and is accessible via trail heads at Whitewater or Indian Trail. The 3-mile-long trail includes high elevations, the ruins of a mill, and a bamboo forest.
The Sandy Springs’ East Palisades Chattahoochee River Trail is inside the Perimeter and is accessible via trail heads at Whitewater or Indian Trail. The 3-mile-long trail includes high elevations, the ruins of a mill, and a bamboo forest.

Frustrated residents living on Indian Trail in Sandy Springs have complained to the city about visitors to a Chattahoochee River trail, who are parking along their road, leaving trash and blocking mailboxes.

The parking lot for the East Palisades trail located on Indian Trail has been closed during the state’s shelter-in-place orders, but that hasn’t stopped hikers eager to get outside during the pandemic.

The sunny and warm weekend forecast could bring even more people out to the park this weekend.

Sandy Springs police say they will begin ticketing and towing illegally parked vehicles along Indian Trail. This week, the city put up signs stating no parking is allowed on weekends.

Karen Steinberg expressed her concern in a public comment read during Tuesday’s City Council meeting. Her comments represent many neighbors’ views, said Councilman Andy Bauman.

Steinberg said the longstanding problem has worsened since the park has been closed. She described visitors at night throwing trash, yelling at residents, trespassing on property and blocking mailboxes with their parked vehicles.

“Parking should be provided by the federal park service and not at the expense of the well-being and safety of residents,” said Steinberg. “In these times of ordinary citizens carrying guns, the loss of tempers — because streets aren’t wide enough for two-way traffic — can be a powder keg that needs to be diffused. This is a matter of feeling secure and not threatened in Sandy Springs.”

Neighbors have also complained about park visitors on social media. In April, Sandy Springs Police community outreach officer Cory Begeal posted on the Nextdoor neighborhood website that police will impound vehicles that create a hazardous situation.

During the meeting, Bauman said the city is committed to resolving the problem. Bauman told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that in addition to the no parking signs, he expects the problem to lessen when the park reopens.

“We want people to visit parks,” Bauman said. “This has been a very unique situation.”