VISION 2030 Green Space Initiative

VISION 2030 Green Space Initiative

Green Space Initiative Goal: In 2030, Gainesville-Hall County has the greatest amount of protected green space (parks, recreation areas and privately-owned open land) of any urban county in Georgia. Elachee Nature Science Center in Chicopee Woods, Smithgall Woodland Garden and Don Carter State Park are key anchors of the green space effort. A highlight of the green space initiative is a network of pathways connecting North Hall County, Gainesville and South Hall County.

Although the 2030 goal of having the greatest amount of protected green space of any urban county in Georgia may be lofty, community leaders and members of the VISIION 2030 Green Space Work Group will meet in December to initiate discussions among ‘green space partners’ in the community. The goal of the initial meeting will be to inventory what green space we currently have set aside and identify opportunities for collaboration. Kelly Miles, VISION 2030 Board Member and Partner with Smith, Gilliam, Miles and Williams is chairing the green space effort for VISION 2030.

Green Space action steps include the following:

• Create a parks and recreation roundtable to build a strong network, discuss and coordinate issues important to the group, encourage cooperation and submit joint funding applications.

• Set aside a minimum of 10% of Gainesville and Hall County’s total land area (preserved through conservation easements and other methods) as parks and open space.

• Ensure that park and open space is distributed and accessible in every area of Hall County.

• Create a network of multiuse pathways that connects North Hall, Gainesville and South Hall.

• Create an entity that has coordinating responsibility of public parks, greenways and open space.

• Create an endowment (North Georgia Community Foundation) for land and park acquisition.

• Create a dedicated funding source (millage) for the purchase, protection and development of park and recreation land.

• Enact a county “land trust” ordinance that rewards land owners with significant tax benefits if they agree to place land in a conservation easement or other form of permanent open-land protection.

• Form a non-profit land trust organization to work with landowners in creating conservation easements or making land donations.

• Build public-private “green belts” or county-wide system of pedestrian and bicycle routes connecting Hall County communities, using electrical transmission and sewer right of way as a backbone for the system.

For more on the Vision 2030 Green Space Work Group or to volunteer, contact VISION 2030 Executive Director