Brookhaven, GA, July 5, 2017 – by Anna Williams for The Post – During the the City of Brookhaven’s June 29th Council Meeting, Mayor John Ernst appointed 6 persons to the Peachtree Creek Greenway Steering Committee. According to the City, the Committee will provide critical oversight and guidance to the PATH Foundation as it completes engineering studies and prepares final construction documents for Phase I of the Peachtree Creek Greenway. This phase runs approximately 1.25 miles from North Druid Hills Road to Briarwood Road.
“While the initial planning documents for the Greenway provided us with considerable public commentary, this last step will truly benefit from the expertise we have here in Brookhaven,” said Mayor Ernst in a release. “We are fortunate to have such highly-qualified individuals who are willing to donate their time to represent the community and provide feedback during this very exciting stage.”
The appointees are:
- Nathaniel Coles, Assistant Director of Facility Operations, The Salvation Army
- Delores Crowell, Director – Intergovernmental Affairs, DeKalb County Government
- Betsy Eggers, Chair, Peachtree Creek Greenway LLC
- Kim Gokce, President Cross Keys Foundation, Founding Member Cross Keys Sustainable Neighborhood Initiative, Member Brookhaven Governor’s Commission
- Marc Reich, General Manager, REI Outdoor Gear
- Robert Turner, Board Member, Briarwood Park Conservancy, Million Mile Greenway, and Ronald McDonald House Charities
Back in May, Brookhaven’s City Council unanimously approved a (not to exceed) $325,276 contract with the PATH Foundation to provide design work for the Peachtree Creek Greenway. According to the City, the scope of work for the Peachtree Creek Greenway includes surveys, design, identify acquisitions as needed, engineering and permitting.
Georgia Legislators have also voted to approve a request by Brookhaven to increase the City’s Hotel/Motel tax from 5% to 8%, setting the tax on an equal plane to what DeKalb County already assesses. A portion of the increased tax proceeds will be dedicated to the plus or minus, $38 million Peachtree Creek Greenway project. House Bill 575, the hotel/motel tax increase bill, is now headed to the desk of Governor Nathan Deal to sign in to law.
The first phase is expected to cost $9 million, which the hotel/motel tax will be used to service a 20-year revenue bond. City estimates indicate the annual amount available for construction of the Peachtree Creek Greenway from an increase in the hotel/motel tax rate to 8 percent, will be about $650,000 annually.
Brookhaven City Manager Christian Sigman noted at the Feb. 15 City Council meeting that the hotel/motel tax is a “logical funding source” for the Peachtree Creek Greenway project. He said the tax is paid by non-City residents and once complete, the Greenway will be a regional “tourism product”.
Sigman told Councilmembers the hotel/motel tax increase funding stream would not cover the entire cost of the 2.8-mile Peachtree Creek Greenway project, but would complete key segments between North Druid Hills Road and Briarwood Road.
State law requires the additional 3 percent tax levied to be split 50/50, with half being expended for promoting tourism, conventions and trade shows by the destination marketing organization (DMO) designated by the municipality levying the tax, and the other half expended by the City for tourism product development. Currently the City’s DMO is Discover DeKalb.
Brookhaven’s 2017 budget estimates hotel/motel tax revenue at $2.2 million. Under the existing arrangement, 60 percent of that revenue – or $1,320,000 – goes to the City’s General Fund; and 40% – or $880,000 – goes to Discover DeKalb.
For more information on the Peachtree Creek Greenway go here.