Saturday, January 29, 2011

Dunwoody Park Proposals Revealed - Brook Run


Thursday night the consultant for the City of Dunwoody revealed a comprehensive layout as to what five city parks and a trail system could look like in a few years. Though the drawings are conceptual at this point, I liked at lot of what I saw of the parks at first glance but with so many changes, several questions and concerns arise as well. I believe the City Council will have a more detailed review of the these plans at the Feb 15th (Tuesday) work session therefore I will hold my personal comments until then.

Here is a really rough overview of what I see being presented at Brook Run. The park will have three entrances for vehicles, Peeler, North Peachtree & Barclay but the park will be divided into two sections by removable bollards in the park road just past the community garden. The front main part of the park will be serviced by Peeler and N Peachtree and the back "active section" of the park where ball fields will be installed will only be available via Barclay. I counted six walking / biking entrances into the park with noticeable sidewalk improvements completely surrounding the park including Peeler and Barclay. There will be multi-use trails throughout the park, including though the heavily wooded area where the dog park is now. The dog park will be moved across the street and broken into three areas to differentiate between Large and Small dogs. The community garden, skate park, playground and green house all seem to stay in place.

The big open area near the front of the park at the corner of N Peachtree and Peeler will be converted into a water feature or splash area and I see eight tennis courts with rest rooms being added into an open area past the skate park. There are a number of buildings removed in this drawing including the theater, the maintenance facility and the dormitory which are currently located off Azalea Drive (the Peeler access point). The Veterans memorial is also relocated to be surrounded by a water feature and adjacent to the great lawn and special events area (stage, bandshell?) and opposite the chapel which will remain. The back of the park where the old hospital was located now shows three large ball fields and or multi-use fields as well as a few group picnic pavilions. Brook Run is slated to handle most of the active ball playing since Dunwoody Park's ball fields will be removed to allow other recreational amenities (playground) on the far North side of town as well to allow an improved Dunwoody Nature Center.

Since the City is currently in discussions with the DeKalb County School System and Peachtree Charter Middle School to have a joint use agreement put into place to share the Peachtree amenities; this plan shows a few improvements there too. First item is that Barclay will no longer be a thru street whereby the section around the curve between the new Brook Run Entrance on Barclay (near fire station) and the back entrance to the Peachtree Middle School football field will be closed off to allow and encourage more foot traffic between the park and the school fields thereby attempting to make it a seamless park structure with new paths into the park. There are also plans for the City to possibly improve or install fields at Peachtree therefore they are part of the active layout of the park.

Please take a look at the large pdf of Brook Run Park to zoom in as well as look at the other park designs located on the City's Parks and Greenspace Master Plan page.

17 comments:

Anon said...

John,

I'm disappointed to read your note that Barclay Drive is slated to close as a through street beyond the fire station. That road is extremely important for accessing Peachtree Charter Middle School due to the now congested traffic on North Peachtree and Peachford.

Eliminating the Barclay Drive connector for school busses and cars to get and out of the back side of PCMS from both directions is a mistake and will add to our traffic woes. We need to improve our traffic problems, not make it worse.

A better approach is to leave Barclay Drive open as a through street but close the access control gate only when an event is going on inside Brook Run Park.

Bob Meehan said...

John

Do I read this proposal right that the theatre is to be demolished? Even converting some of the other buildings to an "Arts Center" and keeping the chapel will not replace this excellent performance space which is especially suited for large performance groups such as bands, orchestra, Young Singers of Callanwolde, theatre groups, etc. What is the justification for their proposed demolition?

Bob Meehan

SmartOne said...

Bob M

Silly rabbit, parks are for outdoor activities like baseball, gardening, and tennis. Theater is an indoor game. Demo the theater quickly before the thespians organize.

Bob Meehan said...

Dunwoody is more than a city of joggers and sports enthusiasts - it is also a city of culture. I applaud what this group has done in designing the space for the various outdoor activities but there also needs to be a good space for the performing arts.

Mom99 said...

I agree, Barclay needs to stay open. This is important for PCMS, the fire dept. and the park.

I also hope the city is thinking of a cultural arts center somewhere in the city.

The park plans are beautiful!

GaryRayBetz said...

"I think you can leave the arts, superior or inferior, to the conscience of mankind."
W.B. Yeats

I agree wholeheartedly with Bob Meehan. It would be unconscionable for Dunwoody not to include a small place for the arts.

Even if you wanted to look at it from merely a fiscal standpoint - property values - every covetable community where I have lived in or near through the years actively endorsed the arts and had a space designated for live theatre, musical programs, forensics, etc.

Don't we as community want to raise au courant children exposed to the arts as well as participate in sports?

brandikler said...

With the great weather this weekend, I want to give a shout out to the greenway plans!!

SDOC Publishing Internet Solutions said...

John--
When you first asked for comments regarding BR development I remember thinking that we need more entrances to the park. We still need 'em. Closing a through road is a really bad idea.

And although I LOVE water features (and so do my kids as my house can attest when we come home from the DNDC or the Nature Center) I'm a little nervous about investing in water play areas. Please see your friend, Mr. Callihan's blog for what I'm thinking there.

Is the theatre really beyond repair? Is demolition the best option for that? If it is, so be it, just double checking. Because I still think the current DeKalb cultural center is a PITA when it comes to building access and parking.

My kids are getting old enough to learn how to throw frisbees and fly kites so we'll be all over the great lawns, etc.

Not a bad start but my comments here and on DunwoodyTalk are places where I think some tweaking would be good.

John Heneghan said...

Thanks for the comments, let me try to answer a few questions.

I live two blocks from Barclay Rd and know that it's a very important connecting road to Peachtree Charter Middle School and I agree that traffic (especially at the corner of N. Peachtree and Peachford) will be negatively impacted if Barclay is closed therefore much more study will need to be done before I vote to approve such a measure.

Bob, I have seen you conduct the Callanwold Concert Band at the Brook Run Theater several times in the past and I understand your love of the the arts and under better circumstances I would want to keep the theater too. We were told that it needs $2 million dollars in renovations and when completed it would still be an small, old theater with high maintenance and utility costs. The plan doesn't currently show it but a band shell was discussed at the first public meeting and now there is a special events area whereby I don't know exactly what that means? Could that be a band shell dedicated to holding community concerts in the park? Maybe SDOC is correct that the theater can be saved but I would like a professional evaluation so that the costs and benefits can be properly analyzed.

Gary if it is a band shell for the arts, you will be on the bill for the dedication, probably reading your original poetry for the occasion.

SDOC, yes I understand that water is a very valuable and scarce resource that no matter the outcome of Federal lawsuits will still be scare and valuable in the future therefore your point is well taken. I like the well and recycle idea for watering the fields but have no expertize in this area.

Other suggestions that have crossed my email inbox were indoor tennis courts (run by contractor?), improved shade for the playgrounds, community gardens in every Dunwoody park, more girls softball fields, a pond for ducks, basketball hoops and an extensive walking path around the entire perimeter of the park.

I am looking forward to hearing again from the consultant on Tues Feb 15th.

Bob Meehan said...

If indeed the theatre needs that much repair or be replaced the city should add the cost to its suit against DeKalb County, specifying that the funds come from the same bond issue. It is through the gross neglect of DeKalb County that this facility has been allowed to deteriorte to this extent.

Dunwoody said...

Brook Run.
Why spend the money to relocate the dog walk?
Why are we going to give such a nice piece of property to the dogs?
We don't have that much land or cash to be re doing the dog park. Spend the money on a city pool.

We are going from 2 tennis courts to 12. Please keep our tennis courts FREE. Maybe coin activated lights.

Lets buy and old ski lift and install a sky ride and charge for it.

Anon said...

John,

Thanks for your responsive, thoughtful reply concerning the closure of Barclay Drive. I live in Kingsley area and I approach PCMS area from Tilly Mill every day between 7:30am-7:50am or so.

Two mornings I'm dropping off my son for early morning activities at PCMS and other mornings I'm headed to Peachford for work. The traffic on N. Peachtree headed toward Chesnut is so congested and many mornings is backed up to near stand-still almost to Tilly Mill. Many days, Barclay Drive is a morning commute lifesaver to avoid sitting on N. Peachtree.

Part of the congestion is due to back-ups formed at Chesnut and part is due to traffic from Peachford turning onto N. Peachtree due to the change in the car pool rules at Chesnut. I don't fault Chesnut for making the change as it helps keep N. Peachtree flowing from the opposite direction along with the GPC traffic coming from 285.

While I prefer to drop my son at the front circle door of PCMS, that stand-still traffic on N. Peachtree requires me to use Barclay Drive to drop him behind the PCMS cafeteria near the bus entrance and he walks around the building to the front door.

Picking him up in the afternoon is much the same as the PCMS carpool traffic winds onto N. Peachtree, so my wife uses Barclay Drive to also pick him up behind the cafeteria. I see a number of afterschool programs and parents also picking up from PCMS on Barclay. On the days when I'm not dropping him at PCMS, I still use Barclay to cut over to Peachford and bypass the backed-up Chesnut traffic on N. Peachtree.

If Barclay Drive is closed, we'd be stuck in the stand-still traffic of N. Peachtree Rd. approaching PCMS from Tilly Mill with no other access option. This would be a step backward.

Thanks for listening.

Dunwoody said...

Arron bring up a instestering idea. Relocate the main entrence for the school on Norht Peachtre to the side street. This should fix most of the issues. From DMC use the area accross from the fire station on Barclay as the main enterance (so what about the traffice light and how long it took to get installed). Install a dead end at the assisting living center on Barclay and convert the road to North Peachtree as green space.

Dunwoody said...

Windwood Hollow Park
expanding the existing tennis courts and adding a bathroom is over due. But the way the plan uses the space I have issues with. The park in adjacent to the raw water pipe.
The entrance to this park needs to be where the water pipe crosses over Peeler, not off Lakeside. The parking lot or tennis courts need to be build over the water pipe leaving more space for trees (trees over the pipes is not allowed). This will be the best use of the building space. The plan also shows 50+ parking spaces with the entrance to the just over a blind hill. I don't think the people who drew up the plans ever visited the locations.

Dunwoody said...

Perimeter Center Park
This space would be better used as the places to build the new elementary school. This could fix many issues with just one plan.

Dunwoody said...

Donaldson House
18 parking spaces makes it to small to host any type of event. I don't see any bus parking for field trips. Looks like a wast of money building a building no one can use. Just make it a park with no parking. If you can walk to it then your good.

Dunwoody said...

Glaze Park
At the end of Glaze road is a large field. Years ago this was going to be sold, but the DHA stopped it. This would make a nice park, or soccer fields. It also will connect to the path system that was proposed. Cheep Green Space!