Wednesday, April 21, 2010
City update by Councilman Robert Wittenstein
I don't usually use my monthly e-mail to distribute news flashes, but today I'm going to make an exception.
Today the Georgia House and the Georgia Senate passed identical bills establishing the conditions under which we can purchase the parks located in Dunwoody from DeKalb County.
The price is $100 per acre which is a token sum that fully recognizes all the years of taxes paid by Dunwoody residents for parks acquisition and capital improvements. The ownership of the parks properties will transfer to the city on the signature of the Governor.
Included in the arrangement are Brook Run, The Dunwoody Nature Center, The Spruill Center for the Arts/North DeKalb Cultural Arts Center, the Donaldson-Chesnut farm at Chamblee-Dunwoody and Vermack, the two baseball fields at Dunwoody Park (Dunwoody Senior Baseball's home) and a number of other smaller properties. We will also assume ownership of the land the fire stations and DeKalb Police precinct sit on and will lease those properties back to the county for a token amount.
The bill passed by the legislature also has provisions that should ensure that the bond money earmarked for Brook Run will be spent at Brook Run. We will probably have to go through a court process with the county before payment, but we should eventually get $6-7 million for capital improvements at Brook Run.
This is a huge victory for the city. I firmly believe that a city cannot thrive while its parks languish.
It is also a major responsibility. We must now work to reverse years of neglect and underfunding. As with the roads, we will want to do more than will be practical in one or two years. A revised master plan for Brook Run that provides lots of opportunity for community input should be high on our to-do list.
A lot of people worked very hard to ensure this outcome. We owe Senator Dan Weber and Representative Fran Millar a tremendous thank you for their efforts. The city staff, the mayor and the members of the city council all played important roles but it would be negligent not to single out Councilman Tom Taylor for the hundreds of hours he put into this effort as our legislative point-person.
This is truly cause for celebration. Congratulations Dunwoody!