Stop the Swap: Legal Fund to Save ICP
Our lawsuit is the only roadblock standing in the way of bulldozers, chainsaws and 30 football fields of concrete.
On January 29, 2021 DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond signed over ownership of 40-acres of Intrenchment Creek Park to Ryan Millsap, founder of Blackhall Studios. By April, Millsap had sold Blackhall Studios and its properties for $120 million to a Los Angeles-based private equity corporation.
According to media reports, the sale of Blackhall Studios included "no conditions" to deliver any promises made to surrounding communities. An excerpt from the Saporta Report reads:
"In the end, Blackhall Studios was really just a real estate play. When asked about any pledges he made to the community during the controversial land swap negotiations, Millsap said honoring those commitments will be up to “the guys who bought it...They bought this with no conditions.” Millsap is later quoted saying "Everyone wins.".
In direct conflict to the above statement, Millsap appeared before the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners on May 4th where he stated that the 40 acres of ICP that he received in the swap was NOT part of the sale of Blackhall Studios.
If the former public land does not belong to Blackhall, what does Millsap plan to do with it? It's safe to assume his plans involve industrial development.
The land swap has now officially set the legal precedent (example) that puts all public land in DeKalb County, perhaps the entire state, at risk of development. It is an immediate threat to the South River Forest vision – supported by the South River Forest Coalition, the South River Watershed Alliance , The Nature Conservancy and others – to protect the last remaining greenspaces in SE metro Atlanta.
Help us reverse this terrible deal. Share the GoFundMe & sign up for email updates at: StopTheSwap dot org
2020 // Background:
The proposed land swap of Intrenchment Creek Park will set the precedent that puts all public park land in DeKalb County at risk of private development. Forty acres of public land are at risk. Over 3,000 individuals and 18 environmental and community organizations are opposed to the swap. Legal action is our only recourse if DeKalb County continues to advance the effort to trade away our public land. Your contribution is critical.
In March of 2020 we met our 2019 phase one fundraising goal of $5,000, however DeKalb County is advancing their effort to push the land swap through quickly. To keep the Stop the Swap effort going, continual community action and financial support will be required over the coming months.
B A C K G R O U N D:
In 2003, ICP was made a protected public park for its environmental and ecological value, and the public health benefits it provides communities in south DeKalb. Despite being illegal according to the property deed, which states that Intrechment Creek Park is to be protected in perpetuity, the land swap is being pursued and finalized by DeKalb County elected officials. If successful, ~40 acres of urban greenspace, including fully-developed forest canopy and important wildlife habitat will be clear-cut and developed by Blackhall Studios. The effect of this development on Intrenchment Creek and the South River will include increased stormwater runoff, pollution and increased flooding downstream.
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Margaret Spalding Brady
South River Watershed Alliance
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