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Flowery Branch considers pedestrian link between roundabout, Lake Lanier
Mitchell Street, which could receive a makeover, is visible from the roundabout on Lights Ferry Road in downtown Flowery Branch.

Flowery Branch is looking at developing a pedestrian link between its downtown roundabout and Lake Lanier.

A consultant firm has developed three concepts for making that tie, through what would be a makeover of Mitchell Street, which leads to City Park off the lake.

Plans vary in cost from $1.6 million to $2.3 million, not including right of way acquisition. They call for multi-use pathways or sidewalks, roadway improvements and other potential touches, such as wooden guardrails.

The project would have several challenges, including limited right of way and steep slopes on Mitchell Street’s shoulders.

“Houses are fairly close to the roadway now,” said John Boudreau, an engineer with Atkins, a British firm with a Norcross location, at last week’s Flowery Branch City Council meeting.

“It is a very exciting project. (But) part of the issue is … it’s a very old road that’s in pretty rough shape.”

To pursue the improvements, the city would first have to “come up with a funding source for whatever design we decide to construct,” said Rich Atkinson, the city’s community development director.

The city began exploring improvements after the roundabout opened last year. The roundabout is part of Lights Ferry Road, which runs between Atlanta Highway/Ga. 13 and McEver Road.

Mitchell Street shoots off the roundabout, with the narrow and primarily residential road running not only toward City Park but also Spring Street in the opposite direction.

“We want to be able to create more connections in town, like we’ve been able to do with the roundabout,” former community development director John McHenry said after the roundabout’s opening. “There’s a very limited sidewalk network in the old town.”

He also called City Park ”an underused asset.”

The South Hall city is getting funding help from the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Hall area’s lead transportation agency, for the study.

Mitchell Street connects with Main Street, which has resurged in recent years with businesses occupying once-vacant buildings.

A Flowery Branch businesswoman, Karen Ching, is planning to put up a new building at the corner of Main and Mitchell that would house a pizzeria and a craft beer business. She has said the business could open by late spring or early summer.

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