2017  HIKING, CYCLING,

& RV TRAVEL ADVENTURES

Lake McIntosh @ Line Creek Nature Area, Peachtree City, GA

 

   
 
Runtrails' Web Journal
 
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   SCENES FROM PEACHTREE CITY'S 
EXTENSIVE NETWORK OF MULTI-USE PATHS

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 1

 
"Peachtree City's hallmark is its 100-mile network of multi-use paths for pedestrians,   
cyclists, and golf carts. Residents can go from their neighborhoods to shopping centers,
schools, and parks through the wooded scenery that makes Peachtree City special."
 
~ Peachtree City's official website
 
 

I mentioned in a previous entry that it was this extensive network of paved multi-use paths that was the clincher when we were trying to decide whether to buy a house in the Roanoke, VA area again or settle down in this far-flung exurb of metro Atlanta.

Both small cities have our most important criteria like a reasonable cost of living, good medical facilities, convenient shopping, nice scenery, and lots of recreational opportunities.


Heavily-used part of Peachtree City's path system near the Lake Peachtree pier and parking area


Fountain in front of the Peachtree City library at the north end of Lake Peachtree


Gazebo between the Braelinn Ponds

However, Roanoke fell short on at least three things:  longer (and snowy) winters, very few houses for sale when we were looking, and no comparison re: its path system.

Although Roanoke does have a decent multi-use path along the river, it's much shorter, some of its segments are still disconnected, and we didn't find any suitable homes for sale there that would give us access to the path from or near our residence.

Early morning streams of light (above) and deer (below)
on the path near our house in Peachtree City.

In Peachtree City (PTC), no one has to walk, bike, or drive their golf cart more than a quarter mile to reach the network of paths. Many yards back directly onto a main path or one of many neighborhood spurs.

We are five houses up a quiet street from our nearest spur path. That proximity is important to us as we get older -- we're more likely to use the paths every day if we don't have to drive somewhere to access them. We initially thought it would be nice to back up to a path but our location gives us a lot more privacy in our back yard.

PLANNED CITY

Peachtree City is one of a kind, at least in Georgia. It's a planned city of about 35,000 residents that was initially incorporated in 1959 and developed in the following years. It was originally designed to house 75,000-80,000 residents but planners in the 1970s were wise enough to limit development to accommodate only half that number.

Most of the houses were built from the 1960s through the end of the 1990s, when land was more reasonably priced than it is now. Since the early 2000s, lots for median-priced houses have shrunk because the value of the land has risen so high.

Houses in the only subdivisions being built right now are either three stories high (i.e., a small "footprint") or practically sitting on top of each other because the lots are so expensive. Worse, developers are clear-cutting dozens of acres of land in the only remaining undeveloped area -- in a city renowned for all of its beautiful trees -- to build these houses:


What an atrocity! This is poor "planning," in my opinion.

We wanted more space around us so we bought a recently updated house built in 1991 that's on one-half acre of land.

Unfortunately, the previous owners took out most of the mature trees in the back yard several years ago and we're trying to landscape it more attractively now. Maybe they're related to the people who are clear-cutting the new subdivisions??

Fortunately, the neighbors surrounding our fence left plenty of other mature trees so we can enjoy them and the shade they provide. (I realize we may not appreciate them so much, however, if they crunch our fence or house in a storm.)

There are five "villages" in PTC, each with its own elementary schools, shopping areas, and recreational facilities to give the city more of a small-town feel. A quarter of the land is devoted to green spaces -- lots of parks, many small ponds, three large lakes, big and little streams, four golf courses, two nature areas, and plenty of forested areas.


Path by Braelinn Golf Course in mid-February before the leaves came out


New leaves in early April at one of the Kedron Ponds


Summer greenery at Flat Creek Golf Course


Wooden footpath over wet area in Flat Creek Nature Area


Public access to Lake Kedron


Fishing pier at Huddleston Pond

The terrain is hilly and wooded. Most houses built before 2000 are surrounded by mature deciduous and/or pine trees.

I've never seen a community with so many tree and landscaping companies doing business, continually working to keep the trees and yards maintained beautifully. When residents want to remove any trees, the tree companies must obtain permission from the city first because it affects the aesthetics and storm water runoff if there is too much pavement and not enough ground for water to soak in.


Most of the paths are heavily shaded in summer, which makes
using them comfortable even on hot days.

We knew before purchasing a house here that the city has lots of other rules and regulations, too.

This link has a quick list of the most important ones; the whole detailed code of ordinances is a lengthy online pdf. file. I read every word of it before we bought our house so there would be fewer surprises later on.

The regulations are designed to protect the health and safety of residents, the beauty of the neighborhoods and business areas, and values of properties. Apparently that has worked well, because during the Great Recession (approx. 2007-2013), houses in Peachtree City maintained their values better than just about anywhere else in the USA.

The biggest downside for us of buying a house here rather than in Roanoke was the cost of a house. Comparable houses are about 30% more expensive in PTC than Roanoke. Property taxes are also higher here but since we are over 65, we pay less than half of what we'd pay if we were younger.


One of my favorite yards belongs to a large house above Lake Kedron. It has lots of
pretty roses and other flowers, a swimming pool, and a waterfall feature.

Otherwise, the cost of living in Peachtree City is comparable to or less than Roanoke for things like utilities, food, medical services, fuel, and other necessities.

Although it's one of the more upscale places to live in Georgia, with a high percentage of professionals calling PTC home, housing options vary from less expensive houses under $200,000 to multi-million dollar mansions with lakefront acreage. There are also some houses and apartments to rent.

It's not just an enclave of wealthy people. Because of all the green spaces and well-maintained yards, most neighborhoods look more expensive than they really are. In addition, with all the convenient local shopping, medical facilities, and recreational opportunities, we're happy residents so far.

Almost said "happy campers," but we aren't camping any more!

MORE SCENES ALONG THE PATHWAYS

This entry gives me a chance to show more pictures from the network of paved paths that link the whole city together.


Handsome wooden cart bridge over wetlands in the Flat Creek Nature Area


Flat Creek at the north end of the Flat Creek Golf Course


A very flooded Flat Creek (and golf course) farther downstream a month later

Most people here refer to the paved paths as "cart" paths because of the large number of golf carts that use them -- about 35,000 residents and over 10,000 registered golf carts! That's a cart for every 3 people.

It's one thing that really sets this city apart.

Not everyone golfs, including us. Most people use their carts for work, school, and just tooling around town. All of our Labs love riding in it:


Cody, Casey, and Jim by one of the Kedron Ponds near our house


Now little Holly gets the front seat for her safety and Casey is relegated to the back;
she still enjoys it.   Here we're parked by Lake Peachtree.

After living here for six months it's still amusing to see all the golf carts at Krogers, Walmart, Home Depot, and other stores on the path system; there are designated parking spots for the carts, just like those for cars but smaller.

It's also comical to drive by the high school when it's in session -- there are more golf carts in the parking area than cars! I bet those kids have fun telling their new friends at college about that.

It's a fun and economical way to get around town.

We've had only a few problems with carts while walking or cycling. It's been more of an irritation for us when we've been driving our cart to maneuver around clueless pedestrians.

Jim and I use the cart paths every day to walk the dogs, ride our bikes, and/or take the cart out to shop or just ride around.


Jim and Casey round a curve near one of the Kedron Ponds.


Casey takes Jim for a walk past a pretty flowering tree
on the spur path at the end of our cul de sac.

We've been on at least three-fourths of the path system, if not more.

The paths are in a constant state of repair one place or another; a good portion of local tax money goes toward maintaining the paths, bridges, and tunnels on the network.


Under construction:  section of path near Huddleston Pond torn up to be repaved


New section of asphalt several miles away in the large Flat Creek Nature Area


Cart bridge over part of Lake Kedron


Tunnel near Huddleston Pond

It's fun to look for something new each time we go out on foot, bike, or cart -- saying hi to other path users and their dogs, watching the flowers and leaves come and go, spotting little natural objects,


Interesting mushrooms always pop up in the summer after it rains.

dodging hundreds of deer and a gazillion squirrels, watching other critters who live here or are just visiting for a while,


Blue heron at one of the Kedron Ponds


Turtles straddling logs in Huddleston Pond

watching ducklings and goslings in all the lakes and ponds grow from fuzzy babies to adulthood, 

Above and below:  This family with five "teenage" geese lived near us at the Kedron
Ponds. We saw them almost daily in the spring and summer until they left in early fall.

seeing the changes people make to their houses and yards, smiling at fun yard art,


Burl Man


Pot Man (inspiration for my "Susie Pot Woman" in the last journal entry)

and watching the water in Peachtree Lake go down while the old spillway is being replaced with a more modern, efficient one:


"Full pond" (north end of lake) in the summer


Going . . .  (starting to drain in early Sept.)


Going . . . (north end of lake on Oct. 1 from bridge over Flat Creek, the stream that feeds the lake)

The north end of the lake is almost GONE as it drains slowly to the south. After the old spillway is replaced by a new weir-style spillway at the other end of the lake it will gradually fill up again, hopefully by next summer.

Here's a picture from the south end of the lake one day in June when Casey was sending Jim off on a kayak ride. The dam is to his left and the spillway to the right (can't see them in this photo):

Everyone in the area will be relieved when the lake is full again. It's another "signature piece" of Peachtree City, like the network of multi-use paths.

Being out on these fabulous paths is a fun and convenient way for us to stay fit and to reflect on how fortunate we are to have found such a great place to call home.

Next entry:  exploring Line Creek Nature Area

Happy trails,

Sue
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, Cody, Casey, and Holly-pup

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2017 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil

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