Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens, DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond Announce Protection and Enhancement of the Environment and Local Economy as Part of Planned Public Safety Training Center

Dekalb County

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens and DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond are partnering to ensure the planned Atlanta Public Safety Training Center will protect and enhance the surrounding environment, spur local business and job development and serve as a community resource.

The City of Atlanta owns approximately 381 acres of property in unincorporated DeKalb County, around Intrenchment Creek and the South River Forest Basin, and plans to develop the Public Safety Training Center campus on approximately 85 acres with 30 of those acres devoted to greenspace, parklands, and trails of city limits.

The memorandum of understanding and statement of principle provide several commitments that serve priority areas for the City of Atlanta and DeKalb County, including:


  • Neighborhood Protections and Enhancements
    • The Mayor and Chief Executive Officer commit to continue to receive input from the Community Advisory Committee.
    • Adopting multiple recommendations of the Community Advisory Committee regarding traffic concerns, lighting, sidewalks, security, and noise control. 


  • Environmental Protections and Enhancements
    • The remaining nearly 300 acres of City of Atlanta-owned land will be preserved as greenspace, parkland and trails.
    • The site will include double erosion control to ensure viability of Intrenchment Creek, the main waterway in the South River Forest Basin.
    • Atlanta and its nonprofit partners commit to planting 100 hardwood trees for every hardwood tree impacted by construction, as well as planting additional hardwood trees for any invasive species trees removed.
    • Atlanta and its nonprofit partners will continue to collaborate with DeKalb’s planning and environmental officials working to ensure that the plans and development of the Public Safety Training Center strictly adhere to all federal, state, and local environmental standards.
    • Atlanta will encourage contractors and subcontractors to use sustainable materials.


  • Sustainable Economic Development, Training and Job Opportunities
    • Atlanta will partner with educational organizations to engage youth in public safety and other career development opportunities and provide workforce development to include a Cadet Program.
    • Atlanta will encourage its non-profit partners to utilize good faith efforts to engage in outreach to certified minority and female business enterprises.
    • Atlanta will encourage contractors and subcontractors to use WorkSource Atlanta and WorkSource DeKalb to facilitate training and hiring workers from the surrounding communities.
    • Atlanta will encourage contractors and subcontractors to use local businesses for support of the project, including materials, supplies, equipment, and indirect project expenses such as signage and catering.
    • Atlanta will encourage contractors and subcontractors to use sustainable materials in the work performed on the site.  

“I am thankful to CEO Thurmond for his partnership as we move this vital public safety project forward,” Mayor Dickens said. “We share DeKalb County’s commitment to environmental protection and economic development, and are proud that this training facility will serve those needs. Community input has been vital in reaching these commitments, and we will continue to engage the community so that this center not only serves our public safety needs, but becomes a true community asset for Atlanta and DeKalb County residents alike.”

“I am grateful for this partnership with Mayor Dickens which will protect and enhance the environment and unique natural beauty of the South River Forest Basin, while supporting job creation and sustainable economic growth,” said DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond.


Key Facts on the Public Safety Training Center

• The 85-acre facility will be constructed on a set of parcels owned by the City of Atlanta that total 385 acres. The rest of that land will continue to be greenspace.

• The facility will not be built on a forest. The training center will sit on land that has long been cleared of hardwood trees through previous uses of the site. Arborists have confirmed the existing vegetation on this land is overwhelmingly dominated by invasive species like brush, weeds, vines, and softwood trees. Much of the site contains rubble from old building structures and asphalt from old parking lots.

• The Atlanta Police Foundation has committed to replace any hardwood tree destroyed in construction with over 100 new hardwoods, as well as replace any invasive species trees with new hardwood plantings.