Morgan Falls Overlook Park covers 27 acres at the end of Morgan Falls Road on the edge of Bull Sluice Lake, the portion of the Chattahoochee River above the dam.
The city purchased the land, with money from the Sandy Springs Society, from Fulton County after it incorporated in 2005, and first wanted to use it as a dog park. But after clearing the land of bamboo and wisteria in fall 2008, the city discovered the view of the river and decided it would be better suited for people.
Sandy Springs has since spent almost $3.4 million creating the park.
Visitors will find a little bit of everything at the new recreational facility, from hiking trails that scale a bluff overlooking the Chattahoochee River to a spiderlike jungle gym, 300-person open-air pavilion and a circa-1840s chimney.
A floating dock provides kayak and canoe access to the river, and two boathouses are on the site. One will house the Sandy Springs Police Department’s new rescue boat.
A 0.75-mile trail allows people a more natural park experience. The trail winds up the 6-acre bluff at the river’s edge.
“This is an entirely different experience for the parkgoer,” said Linda Bain, executive director of the Sandy Springs Conservancy. The conservancy funded the trail on the bluff and the dock for canoers and kayakers.
Overlook Park features a large playground with a springy synthetic turf, a jungle gym shaped like a spider web, slides, swings, monkey bars and more.
Walkers and runners along the trail might spot box turtles, pheasants or snakes and should enjoy the shade of established trees such as tulip poplars, white oaks and hickories.
“It’s like a different world up here,” said Todd Branham of Long Cane Trails, who laid the trails at Overlook Park. During a visit July 7, Branham said the only trees cut down during the process were diseased or posed a risk to parkgoers.
The bluff, like the new park, is on land with a rich history. The site was once a river crossing for Native Americans and became the home of early white settlers.
“It is one of Sandy Springs’ most tangible links with the past,” said historian Kimberly Brigance with Heritage Sandy Springs. “In one spot, we can really see the epic of change in Sandy Springs.”
She said the land once belonged to area pioneer Joseph Power, who deeded the property to son William Power in 1839. Joseph Power built a homestead on the site, but all that remains is the stacked-stone chimney that now stands as a focal point in the park. A fire pit and about 20 porch swings surround the area that overlooks Bull Sluice Lake.
The park will be open from 6 a.m. to dusk. No swimming will be allowed. People can hold gatherings at the park with special permits available from the city.
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