By John Schaffner
johnschaffner@reporternewspapers.net

Trees and shrubbery once again beautify the front of The Village Park Place at Brookhaven commercial building, 1441 Dresden Drive, after 17 trees were chopped down a year ago. As part of the recompense, Ashford Park (bottom image) also benefitted by gaining several trees and bushes, which were planted last March.

I have written a lot about the travesty that took place on Dresden Drive on a Sunday morning in June 2009 when 17 maturing oak trees were chopped down in front of the Village Park Place at Brookhaven commercial building.

The destruction of those trees, which actually were on DeKalb County right-of-way, caused a major public outcry and demands for the wrong to be righted.

This past March, the owner of the building, who had the trees removed, finally came through with the recompense. Something that was so wrong became something very good.

I had not returned to see the results of the March replanting along Dresden Drive until recently. I was impressed.

The recompense ended up not only making the streetscape in front of 1441 Dresden Drive even more attractive than it had been before, but resulted in additional trees and shrubs that were planted and help beautify Ashford Park and Clack’s Corner Park.

In this case, a very wrong deed turned into a triple benefit for the Brookhaven community. But that became possible only because of residents who cared and acted to protect the environment and livability of the Brookhaven community.

I attended the Aug. 10 meeting of the Brookhaven Community Connection, formed 18 months ago by a group of about 50 representatives of the business and residential communities to influence quality growth and lifestyle in Brookhaven. I was dismayed to learn the membership had dwindled somewhat.

The BCC was the outgrowth of concern that last year’s Taste of Brookhaven had to be cancelled for lack of sponsorships and community commitment. The goal was to form an organization of both business people and residential representatives to unite the community and produce positive community results.

I suggested in a column some issues ago that the BCC might lead an effort to attempt to define a community center, or heart, for Brookhaven.

At this past BCC meeting, a retired resident sat next to me and pulled out a copy of that column I had written. She said she joined the BCC because she feels it will take an organized effort to improve the appearance and livability of Brookhaven — to make it more attractive for people to want to move and live here.

She said she walks the walk every day — picking up trash as she walks, pulling weeds from traffic islands, doing what she can. But she feels the BCC can organize and do so much more.

She pointed out that the county has no money to invest in such activities as picking up the trash along sidewalks and streets, cleaning up overgrown areas beside roadways or generally sprucing up the local environment.

She suggested the BCC should take on such projects and maybe even adopt a roadway. That way, a sign would be erected pointing to the work the BCC is doing for the community.

This woman may be retired, but she has the type of active mind that the BCC and the community can benefit from. And I believe she is thinking in the right direction.

Just might be that greater community relevance could lead to greater membership participation for the BCC, and a better Brookhaven.