Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Dunwoody Community Garden at Brook Run looks to expand as it enters its second year.

On Thursday, I will be touring the Dunwoody Community Garden to hear details of a proposal for expansion and I already received a video outlining the proposed expansion that I thought I would share with you.  Brook Run Park by deed must stay 70% green space and the garden would easily be working towards that requirement and the beauty is that this would be usable productive green space that would be improving the park, improving peoples lives, as well as bringing visitors into the facility on a regular basis.  (The more regular visitors the safer the park.)

The only downside I see is that the community as a whole hasn't had a discussion as to the future best uses of the limited green space that we have here in Dunwoody and the revision to the Master Plan of Brook Run also has to happen.  Is this the best use for the property in question and if the garden is expanding shouldn't the dog park have the same right?  Even though I may personally love the idea of expanding the Community Garden at Brook Run, I still want to know what is the communities long term vision of the property so that the expansion, if deemed appropriate, will mesh with the other long term improvements.

What are your thoughts and future vision for Dunwoody's parks? 

Please check out the video below and then if you haven't visited the garden or the very back sections of the park, I highly encourage you to do a full tour of the facility.


John Heneghan said...

Related links - Blog from Sustainable Pattie

Dunwoody Community Garden Seeks to "Finish Out" Its Visually-Logical Space in Its Second Year. Requests Community Involvement and City Council/Mayor Approval

Future Master Plan of Dunwoody Garden

SDOC Publishing Internet Solutions said...

(part 1)

John (per your request that I post this on your blog)
If you're seriously interested in input on Brook Run, here's mine:

The park has become the de facto fairground for the city, first with Lemonade Days, now with the Music Festival and who knows what else will come in the future. In addition, most parks are uber-structured: this little plot is for little kids, that little plot is for tennis, etc etc etc. What Dunwoody *doesn't* have is a general common. (Think Piedmont park.) A place where people can just be, walk with a stroller, sit down with a book, or throw a ball or frisbee around on a whim. IMHO, you'll get a lot more people using the park from different walks of life if there is one area that is not strictly regulated in terms of purpose.

I would also make sure for current and future events at the park that water and places set aside for porta-potties are planned for. I heard some whispers during Lemonade Days that there was a conflict over whether the fair could access the water that the Community Garden uses for their crops. Best to avoid that, make sure the infrastructure (read: water) can handle the events already there and not bother the Garden with those needs.

While on that subject, the largest parcel of land (where the main hospital used to stand) is All. The. Way. In. The. Back. Plus, has anyone ever seen the lead/asbestos ablation reports from the County when the hospital was torn down? If so, are they credible? (Yes, that's a serious question.) If it's a place to "just play" or do whatever, the City is going to have to promote the hell out of it. (Paging the Chamber and CVB......)

Is there any way to increase accessibility to those areas? 100 acres is a lot of land to only have one entrance/exit. Is it possible to build a secondary entrance on the "back" side (and again, promote the hell out of it). Add more sidewalks (one of your favorite causes!) to encourage people to walk there, etc. Another drive-in entrance w/ some parking? More bike racks? If I saw those there (esp the drive in and parking - I'm not putting 3 little tots on a bike or a segway, no matter how much you and other enthusiasts push it. ) I'd use that open area more myself.

The remaining buildings that were offices/dorms from the old hospital: use 'em or lose 'em. If they can be rehabilitated in a cost-effective manner then do so. Buildings that appear to be generally unused regardless of their condition are just waiting for delinquents to cause trouble. If you're keeping the buildings, I say expand their use. How about an annex or alternative to the DeKalb Cultural Center? There's smoother access and more parking than the old Dunwoody Elementary location. I'm involved with an organization that meets at the central location and getting a parking space is a royal PITA. Plus if I have to have the stroller with me I can't jack it up a long flight of concrete stairs. The wheelchair (and stroller) accessibility at the current cultural center is a big, fat joke.


SDOC Publishing Internet Solutions said...

(part 2)

How about using the auditorium (again if it's going to be kept) for more community events - like HA meetings, candidate forums, an alternative to the City Hall location for council meetings. (You want more people attending, right? How about bringing a meeting out of the Perimeter once in a while? Would that be so bad?) I could also see the Chamber holding a meeting there if it was spruced up. All of the above could generate some modest revenue as well.

Technically it can even be an alternative location for the Stage Door Players but you'd have issues with visability versus their current location. I wouldn't expect that thought to go very far, but it's worth throwing out there.

This is all if the buildings can be renovated for less than the cost of new construction. If that's not the case, demolish them, and fast. Use the land for something else. Like a general picnic area with tables and grills under the shade. You don't see many of those around and the DNDC doesn't count.

With the land that we have at that one big park you can do all of this, and there would STILL be room for the dog park AND the community garden to expand. And that's just Brook Run - some of these options could be incorporated (scaled to the size of the land) in other Dunwoody parks too.


John Heneghan said...

Since I asked for your thoughts on the future use of Brook Run and Dunwoody parks, several people e-mailed me directly stating that there should be no major changes or additions until after a master plan is developed. Since I agree with following the process, the Council on Monday will have a discussion on speeding up the implementation of that plan and if the money can be found it should be moving forward soon.

SDOC Publishing (comment above) gave an insightful e-mail and I encouraged her to post as a comment for all to see which she did, thanks. She also asked about asbestos clean up and if you have followed this blog for any time you will know I attempted to stay on top of this issue way before we were a city as this link shows.

A reader by the name of Sara gave the following comment on the blog's facebook page.

"I would love to see a greenway walking, jogging, biking trail. I also think it would be great to have an indoor and outdoor aquatics center and splash park like the ones in Gwinnett. And, Chamblee Parks and Rec does a nice job with youth sports - soccer, t-ball, etc. We went to there Fireworks on Saturday and they were great. And I would love to see Brook Run Park's water feature work again and add some benches and trees for shade. Norcross recently built a fountain like the one at Centennial Park for kids to splash in. I think there is so much potential at Brook Run!"

Feel free to add you two cents in an additional comment but my hope is that citywide discussions will start soon.

Rebecca said...

As chair of the Dunwoody Community Garden, I, of course, want to see room in the Brook Run master plan for not only our garden as it currently exists, but also for enhancements and expansion. The original master plan set aside space for both a nature education center and a horticulture center. I'd like to see those ideas reworked and relocated to mesh with our community garden and other current models of urban agriculture. The garden has the potential to become a hub for eco-education, recreation, horticulture-therapy, and community connection. I'd like to explore how our garden and Brook Run Park could be developed to compliment and support other parks and organizations, such as the Dunwoody Nature Center and the Dunwoody Garden Club.

Here are some other ideas I have for Brook Run park. (These are not necessarily shared by the garden board or its members, so I'm speaking from a personal point of view here.)

How about we use the back area (where the hospital used to be located) as a multi-use play field and concert venue? I'm not talking about an elaborate outdoor amphitheater, but something that is minimalist, cost-effective to create and maintain, and also preserves some of the open wildness of the area. I'm thinking less about concerts at Chastain and more about concerts at the Botanical Gardens. For example, during day people could throw frisbees and fly planes, and during the evening, they could drag out a blanket and cooler for some music.

We need walking and biking trails. Near the garden is a charming bridge-to-bridge path through the woods. The bridges are sketchy to cross and the trail is grown over, but it's such a wonderful place to spend time and it allows visitors to enjoy the creek flowing through the park. There are other trails inside the park as well, and they need some work too. The whole trail system could be redeveloped, and I suspect they'd be used frequently.

We need some sort of gaming/recreation area: frisbee golf maybe? I only learned about the game a few days ago, but that sort of thing might fit well in Brook Run. It would be cost-effective to create and maintain, it would blend into the park's wild areas, and it doesn't cost players more than a few bucks to buy the equipment needed to play. The skate park costs money and riders need gear (I like that we have a skate park, by the way), but I'd like to see a compliment that is free and requires a piece or two of cheap equipment.