Monday, June 21, 2010
Dunwoody grows by 165 acres as city takes over parks from DeKalb - AJC
By Patrick Fox for the AJC
Dunwoody took possession of 165 acres of parkland from DeKalb County on Monday, culminating a long process that stretched from the negotiating table to the Georgia Legislature.
At a mid-morning news conference held before 60 residents and city officials at Brook Run Park, Mayor Ken Wright declared ownership of the recreational property.
"We are officially in charge of our parks, our green space," he said.
Monday's action comes in the wake of legislation passed in March allowing Dunwoody to take over the parks by paying DeKalb $100 per acre. Similar measures were passed this year allowing similar transactions in Sandy Springs and other new cities in north Fulton County.
The city is in line for $7.5 million in bond money from a 2001 referendum. Wright said the city will study a master plan drawn more than a decade ago by DeKalb County to help craft a strategy for the new park system. He said the city also will seek public comment.
City council members were fairly pointed on Monday when addressing the land transfer with DeKalb County.
"One of the things that defines a city is its parks," Councilman Danny Ross said."Our parks are certainly not reflective of the way we like to maintain things. ... We intend to make this into a showplace that our community can be proud of."
Councilman John Heneghan, who lives within two blocks of Brook Run, had specific ideas in mind. He said the county has allowed most of the seven buildings at Brook Run to deteriorate and threaten public safety.
"The first priority for me is to maintain the security of the park, to close up the buildings in the back," he said. "From there, it's to provide some fast, efficient services (such as) benches and seating in the playground, which has been deficient for years."
DeKalb County had no official comment on Monday's event, but Commissioner Jeff Rader earlier had said he expected the county to sue. Rader said the county has invested $13 million in Brook Run Park without any compensation from Dunwoody.