Tucker moves forward on Northlake Trail as others near completion

A rendering of a proposed three-mile multi-use trail to connect Tucker’s downtown to the bustling Northlake retail district. Photo obtained via the city of Tucker

Tucker, GA — The Tucker City Council at its Sept. 12 regular meeting passed a framework agreement with the Georgia Department of Transportation for the construction of a Tucker-Northlake trail that will run from downtown Tucker to Northlake at I-285.

City Engineer Ken Hildebrandt stated that the project engineering by Heath & Lineback will cost $1.97 million. Federal funding will provide $560,000, and $50,000 will come from the Tucker-Northlake Community Improvement District.

Federal funding will also be available for future right-of-way acquisition in the amount of $920,910.  Hildebrandt estimated that the total construction cost for the trail would be $5 million to $7 million, and said that the city would seek additional funding for later stages of the project.

Hildebrandt put the trail in the context of a plan to build trails and sidewalks, including downtown and Hugh Howell trails that are currently approaching completion, which will make Tucker more pedestrian and bicycle friendly.

The city council also took measures to control vehicle traffic. The city awarded a contract to Summit Construction & Development, LLC for traffic-calming measures on Brockett Road in the amount of $1,275,679.

Public commenters including Jimmy Martin and Babs Douglas spoke in favor of the Brockett Road calming project and described the road as dangerous for pedestrians. Douglas added that while she favored calming measures, the road is narrow, and she was concerned that added medians or anything that extended along the length of the road could back up traffic.

The city also approved purchase of digital speed detection signs for $31,700 and a task order for a north/south connectivity study by Kimlee Horn in the amount of $209,105.

In other business:

– The city council approved a contract with GDOT to acquire the right-of-way at Mountain Industrial and Hugh Howell Road, for adding dual left turn lanes from Mountain Industrial onto Hugh Howell as well as an eastbound right turn lane. GDOT has confirmed contributing $750,000 towards construction and the Tucker CID has contributed $50,000.

Hildebrandt described the intersection as the most congested in the city and said that the GDOT formula projects right-of-way costs at $290,000, however he expects that the actual costs will be less.

– The city has a contract with Helix Group to replace the sewer line at Fitzgerald Park. Citing a global increase in the price of the pipe to be used, Director of Parks and Recreation Rip Robertson requested a change order to the project for an additional $32,045, which was approved by the city council.

In addition, the city is negotiating to use parking and field space at a church adjacent to Fitzgerald Park. The church has requested that part of the lease agreement be a connection to the DeKalb County sewer system through Fitzgerald Park, which would require an additional sewer line and manhole, for an amount not to exceed $105,000. The project will only be completed if a satisfactory lease agreement is signed with the church. Robertson stated that he would bring the full lease agreement back for approval by the city council.

– The city passed an ordinance prohibiting coin operating gambling machines and limiting other types of coin operated games to six per location.

– The city passed a requirement that convenience stores and gas stations have video surveillance cameras at each cash register, fuel pump, charging station, and loading dock.

– The city revised its ordinance regulating residential driveways and the use of pervious pavement, which allows residents to expand the area paved by 50% if a pervious pavement system is used.

– The city is considering a revision of alcohol licensing that will allow caterers to sell alcohol at events open to the public under their own license, rather than relying on a location license. The change will be up for a vote at the city council’s October business meeting.

– The city also passed an ordinance clarifying that the city attorney serves at the pleasure of the city council.

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