DeKalb District 1 Candidate Questionnaire

At Peachtree Creek Greenway Inc. (PCGI), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to enriching community engagement and the preservation of trails and green spaces, we recognize the critical importance of local governance in shaping the future of DeKalb County’s natural landscapes. As the 2024 elections draw near, our focus extends to the candidates vying for a seat in the District 1 race, whose decisions will significantly impact our local greenways and trails.

To ensure our community remains informed and engaged, PCGI has distributed a questionnaire to the District 1 candidates. This survey probes their experiences, visions, and proposed policies concerning the development and maintenance of our trails and green spaces. It is our hope that their responses will illuminate each candidate’s commitment to enhancing the connectivity and environmental quality of DeKalb County.

PCGI does not endorse any candidates or their responses. Our objective is purely to facilitate an open dialogue between the candidates and the community, creating a platform for voters to understand each candidate’s perspective on critical issues. This initiative underscores our commitment to keeping our community well-informed about matters that influence the accessibility and quality of our natural landscapes.

As we approach Election Day on May 21st, with Early Voting from April 29th to May 17th, we remind our community members of the power of participation. Decisions are made by those who show up. By engaging in this democratic process, you play a pivotal role in shaping the policies that will govern our green spaces and community welfare. We encourage all eligible voters to review the responses, which can be found on our website, and make informed choices that will foster a sustainable and vibrant future for DeKalb County.

Remember, your involvement is crucial. Find your polling locations and view sample ballots at MVP Georgia. Let your voice be heard and be a part of the decisions that shape our community.

Robert Patrick:

Andy Yeoman:


What is your experience with the Peachtree Creek Greenway? How has access to greenspaces and trails benefited you personally?

Robert Patrick: I have participated in walking tours of the greenway to better understand the size and scope of the current trail and anticipated areas for expansion. Using the greenway as a model, I collaborated with Mercer University to begin the Mercer Trail Scoping Study. I and my family have enjoyed walking and biking the greenway, which is conveniently located near my home. Even when busy, the combination of trails and greenspace helps take my mind off stressful situations.

Andy Yeoman: Since you asked about my personal experience, I will admit that I have only visited once. The necessity of driving via state or federal highways to reach the facility has detracted significantly from my overall appeal.

This personal account underscores the critical nature of our ongoing efforts. Greenways must evolve beyond mere pathways to become integral, life-enhancing features within our urban and suburban landscapes. Their potential to substantially improve the quality of life for community members is immense.

The impact of greenways is becoming increasingly evident as more communities prioritize connectivity. A compelling example of this progress is Atlanta’s recent achievement: securing a $25-million grant for a 2.2-mile trail. This development marks a significant milestone as it will establish the Beltline’s first direct link to a MARTA transit station and connect to the southern end of PATH400, Confluence Trail, and the Peachtree Creek Greenway south of Lindbergh Drive. Connections like this are important for more people to adopt the concept.

Trails and Greenways are vital transportation alternatives that support options for residents who don’t have access to a car, have a disability, and/or prefer to get around by sustainable, healthy modes of transportation such as transit, walking, biking, etc. How will you support significantly expanding the network of trails and greenways throughout DeKalb County?

Andy Yeoman: It’s time to have a community conversation: adhere to the methodical, incremental approach that has guided us thus far or delve into alternative strategies for progress and development. Our elected officials can no longer be taken seriously, continually promising SPLOST revenues for significant undertakings like the development of greenways.

This is a realization that the City of Atlanta came to a few years ago, leading to the passage of a $400 million bond aimed at enhancing and supplementing the $350 million accrued from the renewal of the T-SPLOST. This measure requires a critical shift in thinking and funding for public infrastructure and recreational spaces.

We must initiate a more comprehensive discussion within our entire County concerning the future of recreational amenities. It’s essential that we present the residents with various funding options, enabling them to make informed decisions on the enhancements they wish to see and enjoy within their lifetimes. This approach democratizes the process and aligns with the urgent need for tangible, enjoyable spaces for our current generation.

Robert Patrick: As County Commissioner I have supported the expansion of trail networks in DeKalb County by voting for the countywide trail master plan. I also support the growth of trails within District 1 by hosting the Mercer Trail Scoping Study that envisions connecting the Regal 24 movie theatre to the newly rebuilt ITA Atlanta tennis facility. However, I recognize that unfunded plans are short lived dreams. As Presiding Officer of the Board of Commissioners, I coordinated a legislative package where the BOC adopted a countywide list of priorities that included trails for federal funding. Additionally, I personally lobbied our federal representatives to bring funding to all of DeKalb County, especially North DeKalb and trails.

As an elected official, could you please detail any initiatives or actions you have undertaken to support or improve trail systems? If you have never held office, could you describe any involvement or contributions you have made towards trail development, preservation, or enhancement?

Robert Patrick: As mentioned above, I funded the Mercer Trail Scoping Study. It will be coming to completion shortly, but it lays out a potential trail that will connect the Regal 24 movie theatre to the ITA Tennis facility. Additionally, I have allocated funding to study the Top End Trail, which is a trail network that will parallel I-285 and the Peachpass Lanes.

Andy Yeoman: 2021- Entered into an agreement with the PATH foundation for a feasibility study for the PCG.

2021- Amended the code fo add Greenway easement and construction standards.

2022- Adopted the PCG Feasibility study.

2023- Funded a segment that would circle the Northwoods neighborhood and eventually connect to the Greenway.

2023- Received a grant from HUD to fund implementation of the “model segment” mentioned above.

How do greenspaces fit into your vision for DeKalb County and how should the County protect our natural resources?

Andy Yeoman: More than just greenways, I am also an advocate for creating conservation subdivisions. These are designed to combine higher-density living with smaller buildable footprints, allowing us to preserve significant portions of our natural landscapes, such as wooded areas and buffer zones.

In my tenure as a City Councilmember in Doraville, we undertook measures to foster greener, more sustainable urban development. This included reducing both property setbacks and minimum square footage requirements to promote increased green spaces within our community.

However, I must acknowledge that the results of these initiatives have presented a complex balance. On the one hand, there is a clear and growing demand for housing amidst the constraints of finite land resources. Navigating these challenges continues to be a dynamic process as we strive to meet the housing needs of our community while also ensuring the conservation of our natural environment.

Robert Patrick: I believe greenspace preservation is critical to continuing to ensure DeKalb County is a desirable community for economic development, educational excellence and that feeling of home. As county commissioner, I have made investments in master planning for Pleasantdale Park and have been working to identify other locations to enhance or expand existing parks. Parks and greenspace will remain a crucial component in the decisions I make for our communities.

What public safety measures do you consider most critical to incorporate into the development of the DeKalb County section of the Peachtree Creek Greenway and trails in general?

Robert Patrick: During discussions with the community concerning the Mercer Trail Scoping Study, safety is a frequently mentioned issue. Safety measures can include traditional elements such as fencing, security cameras and emergency call stations as well as frequent police or park ranger patrols. Another element of safety is building the greenway in areas that are respectful of those more closely impacted by its location.

Andy Yeoman: I share the concern of many others regarding the lack of comprehensive measures in DeKalb County to address petty thefts and having an adequate response to the influx of unhoused individuals, particularly as Atlanta intensifies efforts to clear encampments. This situation undeniably impacts the Greenway and other communal spaces, underscoring the need for proactive and compassionate solutions.

The North Fork area of DeKalb County has evolved beyond its former status as a sleepy bedroom community. The changing dynamics of our community necessitate a more vigorous approach to ensuring the safety and well-being of all residents and enhancing the accessibility and enjoyment of our recreational areas.

We must commit to developing inclusive, sustainable strategies addressing homelessness while improving public spaces. By fostering collaboration among local government, non-profit organizations, and community members, we can work towards a safer, more responsive DeKalb County for everyone to live in and enjoy.

DeKalb County is in the process of finalizing an ambitious Trail & Greenway Master Plan that outlines a countywide interconnected system.  SPLOST II is expected to generate $19 million for this effort which isn’t nearly enough.  How would you support pursuing additional funding beyond SPLOST II  for  biking and walking infrastructure that benefits the economy, environment, and transportation?

Andy Yeoman: I am running for the DeKalb County Commission to restore action and trust to the office of the District 1 Commissioners office. These are two qualities that I believe will greatly benefit the PCG organization.

Trust: My opponent served on the working group of the County’s North Fork Peachtree Creek Greenway Comprehensive Study. Through this process, he should have understood the capital requirements needed to complete this project before 2030. However, he (and the County) promised and agreed to a timeline (referenced on page 45 of the study) that was not only unrealistic but also unfeasible. I would say it is deliberately misleading. It has been known since 2017 that SPLOST II proceeds would not be available until 2025. According to the plan, Section 1 is supposed to be under construction and completed by August 2024, and Section 2 is supposed to be breaking ground this summer. The wording of this question is also puzzling because it is also untrue that $19 million from SPLOST II was allocated for the Greenway (source: ) In 2023, the BOC passed a resolution calling it a “priority” but did not assign any specific dollar amount to it, and SPLOST II encompasses only broad categories. I commit to working with the PCG to set realistic funding and timeline expectations without continually compromising the trust of your supporters with false hopes and broken promises.

Robert Patrick: As I mentioned above, unfunded plans are short lived dreams and inadequately funded plans are disappointments. That said, it is important to recognize that the countywide trail plans and area specific studies are the first step in a years long vision to provide transportation alternatives for DeKalb County residents. That is why I have also supported a study that will look into funding alternatives beyond SPLOST. It will consider expenditures after construction, such as maintenance, security measures as well as safety patrols.