East Decatur Greenway receives $30,000 grant, hires goats
The East Decatur Greenway on Columbia Drive has a four-legged landscaping crew this week.
Thanks to a $30,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and a partnership with Trees Atlanta, the Greenway was able to hire Get Your Goat to help eliminate kudzu, privet and ivy on the site.
“Our primary partners for this grant are Trees Atlanta and the Friends School of Atlanta,” the announcement from the East Decatur Greenway says. “Trees Atlanta’s Forest Restoration Manager, Kevin Mink, is leading the mitigation of invasive plants. The goats are the first step in that process. He will provide a five year Forest Management Plan for the greenway and direct the process of removing invasive plants during the grant period, July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019. Trees Atlanta will sponsor several volunteer workdays, the first of which will be Saturday, September 22, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.”
The Greenway project transformed a graffiti-covered gas station at 890 Columbia Drive into a public green space over the course of seven years. Things accelerated in 2014 when the East Decatur Greenway received a $200,000 cleanup grant in 2014. The money didn’t go quite far enough, but the group received assistance from the DeKalb County Revolving Loan Fund.
The Greenway had other helping hands over the years.
East Decatur Station co-owner Chuck Bosserman helped convince PATH foundation to build a 1.1 trail segment to the site that connects to the Avondale MARTA station redevelopment. Another company, Plants Creative Landscapes, donated the landscape plan and Buck Jones Nursery contributed plants.
Now the space is lush and green, an little oasis along a busy street that will be open for anyone looking to commune with nature. Birds and wildlife abound here, and it will remain a passive park forever.
The Friends School of Atlanta, a Quaker school, has taken over stewardship of the park and will use it as part of the school’s environmental education efforts.
“The Friends School (FSA), located next door to the greenway, will work with East Decatur Greenway to plan a wildlife habitat, bog garden, pollinator garden, and educational signage,” East Decatur Greenway Director Michele Ritan said. “FSA students have already been conducting water monitoring of the East Fork Middle Branch of Shoal Creek, which borders the property, through the Adopt-A-Stream program,and plans to expand those efforts.”
The Greenway will also partner with Our House Decatur, an organization that provides early childhood education to homeless children.
“Our House is located directly across the street from the greenway. EDG’s program manager will provide environmental education classroom and hands-on experiences at the greenway to the pre-K class,” Ritan said.
But back to the goats.
People who want to see the goats in action are free to drop by. They’ll be on the property this week and are in residence 24/7. The greenway is located at 890 Columbia Drive. Parking is available at the Friends School Parking lot.
“Everyone is welcome to observe, either from the parking lot fence, which gives you the big view, or down in the Ravine for a different angle,” Ritan said. “Stay away from the electric fence. Also, don’t be hurt if the dogs don’t respond–they’re working dogs, not pets.”