Community Engagement Shapes Union City’s Trail Future

Union City, Georgia, a burgeoning community in the metro Atlanta area, is taking bold steps towards a more connected and vibrant future. At the forefront of this endeavor is the development of the city’s first-ever Multi-Use Trail Master Plan (MUTP).

The project began with a visionary R3 (Reclaim, Renew, and Re-imagine) Master Plan adopted in 2019, which laid out a conceptual framework for Union City’s future. It emphasized revitalizing outdoor spaces, enhancing civic engagement, and creating mixed-use activity centers. Building upon this foundation, the MUTP aims to weave together Union City’s various zones and create an integrated network of multi-use trails and paths.

CPL Team at Union County Back to School Pop Up Event

Spearheading this crucial project, CPL’s multi-disciplinary team, including planning and landscape architecture experts, have been working in tandem to translate the vision into reality. The planning efforts commenced with an initial site walk, which uncovered crucial information about potential trail alignments. However, the heart of the project lies in community input, ensuring that the trails cater to the needs and desires of Union City’s residents.

In our pursuit of inclusivity and engagement, we decided to approach community outreach for this project through a Back-to-School Pop-Up Event. Held at a time and place accessible to a wide cross-section of the population, the event targeted families with school-age children with an overarching goal of raising awareness of our planning endeavors. Attendees had the chance to win school supplies and participate in engaging activities, all while learning about the multi-use trail project.

CPL Team at Union City Back to School Pop Up Event

One of the event’s highlights was the “Piggy Bank Activity.” Piggy banks were stationed in front of key destinations across Union City, including schools, parks, civic buildings, historic sites and senior centers. Attendees were provided with a set of coins and asked to allocate them to their most desired trail destinations. This interactive approach allowed us to gauge community preferences, ensuring that the proposed trail routes align with actual needs.

CPL Team at Union City Back to School Pop Up Event

The resounding success of this event highlights the power of community engagement in shaping our projects. Beyond designing trails, our aim is to create a positive impact on residents’ lives. This means enhancing quality of life, boosting economic opportunities, and promoting healthier lifestyles through accessible recreation.

CPL Team at Union City Back to School Pop Up Event

Post-event, the data we’ve collected, along with survey results from attendees, will inform the drafting of a trail alignment for Union City’s review. The engagement efforts won’t stop here, though. Upcoming public events will seek feedback on the proposed alignment, ensuring that the project remains a collaborative endeavor from start to finish.

As efforts for this MUTP progress, our commitment to collaboration and community engagement continues to be a driving force, shaping Union City’s future for the better. With an anticipated adoption in late spring 2024, the city and its residents are eagerly looking forward to the unveiling of the comprehensive trail master plan that reflects their aspirations and desires.

CPL Team at Union City Back to School Pop Up Event

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Rebecca Keefer is a Senior Planner in our Decatur, GA office with more than a decade of industry experience. She has deep expertise in community planning, design development, visioning, master planning and public engagement.

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