By Maggie Lee

Dunwoody City Council has voted to repave its side of Dunwoody Club Drive ahead of schedule and abandon the fight for a bike lane.

It’s not ideal, some council members said, but $70,000 of take-it-or-leave-it state money is too good to pass up.

“With competitive bidding and LARP [Local Assistance Road Program] funding, it’s 60 percent of what we had budgeted,” Public Works Director Michael Smith told Dunwoody City Council.

That means a city bill of $123,000 instead of $205,000.

Those savings spurred the council to act to repave the road that forms a portion of the border between Dunwoody and Sandy Springs.

“It may not be the road that most needs paving,” acknowledged Councilman Doug Thompson ahead of the 6-1 vote, “but I think the bargain’s out there, we should vote to approve this one.”

In fact, the road isn’t on Dunwoody’s to-do list until 2011.  But then Sandy Springs appeared with $141,000 in LARP funding for the road. The LARP money must be spent in the 2010 calendar year. So, Dunwoody decided to go ahead and repave its side of the thoroughfare.

But Councilman Robert Wittenstein left unconvinced because Dunwoody Club Drive is not the worst street in the city and shouldn’t have precedence for the city’s money. “I’m not convinced saving $70,000 on something we didn’t need is a savings.”

But the group consensus met with approval from Councilman Denis Shortal. “You’re thinking of leaving $70,000 on the table, that’s irresponsible,” Shortal said.

The cash might come from this year’s surplus, or if works are done late enough in the year, Dunwoody can pay invoices next year, when the money is budgeted.

The deal had hit a speed bump in Dunwoody because the council, especially Mayor Ken Wright, wanted a bike lane.

But a road that is only 21 to 22 feet wide can’t accommodate a 5-foot-wide bike lane.  Sandy Springs ordinances require their lanes to be 11 feet wide, at least.

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.