Alpha Loop continues march around city’s business district - North Atlanta Business Post
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Updated Nov 14 @ 1:05PM

Alpha Loop continues march around city’s business district

Developers are embracing plan for green ‘beltline’

A concrete path, part of the Alpha Loop, stretches through a wooded area at the Edward Andrews site on Thompson Street.
A raised boardwalk fills a section of the Alpha Loop at the Voysey site just west of Haynes Bridge Road behind the homes under construction on the north side of Thompson Street.

ALPHARETTA, Ga. — Work is continuing this summer on Alpharetta’s twin necklace of walking trails circling its growing business district.

The Alpha Loop, a three-mile inner and five-mile outer trail, has gained a lot of attention and support since it was first proposed last fall.

The city hopes to mitigate costs for the project by partnering with local businesses and through property easements donated as part of development approvals.

Preliminary estimates put the cost of the inner loop at close to $8 million. The loop would run from City Center south to Northwinds, then north and east to Avalon. There are no solid cost estimates for the outer loop.

That may change soon, however.

The City Council on July 17 approved $602,000 for design work on the Alpha Loop to draw up detailed plans for the paths.

“That will come up with the overall design, so that each time a developer comes along, we can say, ‘here’s a design for your section,’” Assistant City Administrator James Drinkard said.

There are currently three major sections of the loop under construction, and Drinkard said he expects more to come online as plans become more concrete.

As building permits are issued, residential and commercial developers are ceding property for the path.

Both paths will feature lighting, with many sections running along a creek. Bike paths, pocket parks and seating areas are also expected to be included. Most parts of the trails will brush past some of Alpharetta’s most densely populated office space. The trail routes will connect present and future residential developments to more than 3 million square feet of office space and 700,000 square feet of retail, sales and services.

“In some cases, they’ll say they’ll do the right-of-way donation,” Drinkard said. “In some cases, they’re saying we’ll donate the right of way and we’re going to construct the section through our property.”

Developers are embracing the plan, he said.

“For the most part, they’re willing to construct it,” he said. “Both the residential developers and the office developers really are seeing the Alpha Loop as a big amenity for their developments. They see it as something that’s going to increase the value of those developments.”

The city earlier this year authorized the mayor to offer matching funds of $750,000 to the North Fulton Community Improvement District for design and construction on the inner loop.

Kathi Cook, Alpharetta Community Development director, reported earlier this year that since the loop plan was first introduced in November, public opinion on the project has been enthusiastic.

Most of the comments, she said, came from residents who wanted to know how they could connect to the loop and how the path will connect to the widely popular Big Creek Greenway, which runs on the east side of Ga. 400.

That question was answered last month with the opening of the new Encore Bridge, which spans Ga. 400. At a cost of $18 million, the project included wider travel lanes, two 8-foot bike lanes and 8-foot sidewalks that will provide pedestrian access from the Alpha Loop to the Big Creek Greenway.

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