The Greenspace Acquisition Program was established to fund the acquisition of properties and conservation easements that are included in existing and planned greenspace areas in Athens-Clarke County consistent with the Envision Athens Plan, Comprehensive Plan, zoning, and approved Athens-Clarke County Community Greenspace Plan. The Greenspace Acquisition Program uses conservation easements and/or fee-simple purchase methods to permanently protect greenspace and farmland, and to contribute to the ongoing development of a comprehensive, countywide green infrastructure which protects ecosystem services, conserves critical habitat, and serves all Athenians through equitable access to recreation, land, clean air, clean water, and food.
Property acquisition criteria and priority is based on the previously-adopted ACC Greenspace Acquisition Program. This Program is directed by a SPLOST User Group consisting of stakeholders and government officials who review nominations and applications and follow ACCGOV Commission-approved procedures in recommending properties for conservation easements and acquisition. The User Group is comprised of representatives from the ACCGOV (Sustainability Office; Leisure Services; Planning Department) and local conservation-oriented agencies (Athens Land Trust, Oconee River Land Trust, Sandy Creek Nature Center, Oconee Rivers Greenway Commission). Properties recommended for easement or acquisition by the User Group are submitted to the ACCGOV Commission for final approval. The tax-assessed value of the highest-priority properties that are currently listed for consideration as part of the Greenspace Acquisition Program is $4.8 million. This number will grow as new properties are added in the coming months.