When I first visited with Ryan Millsap regarding the expansion of his studios, I recognized an opportunity to achieve the goals of Blackhall while also making a major contribution to the overall community. He didn't hesitate.
The exchange maintains what is currently open space, turning it into a protected, permanent greenbelt between the residential and industrial areas. In this exchange, the county will gain 13 acres of additional green space.
This new park will be the first community park in South DeKalb designed for community festivities and activities. It is designed to bring people together. This park will become a community magnet - something that is sorely needed in South DeKalb.
- Jay Scott, Principal at Green Rock Partners
When I learned the 53 acres Blackhall purchased was going to become a new greenbelt and park for our county, I was thrilled. In this dual role representing the DeKalb Chamber and Discover DeKalb for tourism and activities in the county, I could not be more dedicated in support of this valuable exchange.
I have great respect for Ryan Millsap as a business leader in our county who's willing to not only invest millions in his own operation, but also has invested in DeKalb's future through Advance DeKalb as well as the parks department for its program expansion.
- James Tsismanakis, Chairman of the Board of DeKalb Chamber of Commerce and CEO Discover DeKalb
In examining the visuals and reading the studies and documents of public concern, I see why the land exchange should be implemented, benefiting both interests of the public and the developer of the expanded film studio complex. To not exchange properties is to miss an important and strategic opportunity.
For instance, according to the tree survey in photographs, more mature trees will be protected because of the exchange moving the construction of their studios over to Constitution. This will leave more sensitive areas of Intrenchment Creek protected stream.
All runoff will be captured, filtered and released according to state and federal regulations.
As shown in the most recent configuration of the new Blackhall track, 40 acres has been shaped to avoid primary drainage areas for this property, further protecting water quality and ecosystems.
Speaking of ecosystems, this plan will support wildlife even more. The plans for the park will also include planting native plants that provide forage. This will be a net gain for the wildlife by connecting Intrenchment Creek and Gresham Park.
- Jack Crowley, Professor in the College of Environment and Design, University of Georgia
My neighborhood is extremely excited about the reconfiguration of the parks and the contiguous nature it will provide. There really is no similar place in South DeKalb, and we will gain much better use out of it.
In fact, I went to the area of Intrenchment Creek that would be a part of the exchange and candidly, I was afraid of walking alone on that current trails. Understanding the new park, with the contribution from Blackhall, will have security and great visibility, I believe it will offer safety and security to women and children in our area.
- Ingrid Buxbaum, Starlight Heights resident