By Maggie Lee
A “Dunwoody dollar” might not buy anything in the real world, but the minting of the money made for a valuable exercise. Residents were recently able to use them to show city planners how they would redevelop the Georgetown and Dunwoody Village areas.
Paul Lowry, for instance, spent $4 million of his $12 million in imaginary money on Georgetown, located near North Shallowford and Chamblee-Dunwoody roads. It would be a good time to replace a defunct construction site for townhomes with a city park, he said.
“Real estate is cheap now,” Lowry said.
The planning exercise on Jan. 19 was part of a continuing effort to involve city residents in Dunwoody’s redevelopment. For both Georgetown and Dunwoody Village, about 40 residents seemed to put parks at the top of their collective wish lists.
Residents want a green centerpiece for an expansive mixed-use development near Mount Vernon and Chamblee-Dunwoody roads near Dunwoody Village.
Once the city accepts a land use plan for the two redevelopment areas, it’s not strictly binding in regard to building and zoning. The city would compare any building proposal against the land use plan. If the proposal matches the vision, the city could more easily give approval to a developer’s plans.
Lowry, for his part, put $2 million in Georgetown on biking and pedestrian paths because “the cities I love are the ones where you can walk,” he said.
A park appeals to Donna Hardesty too. The defunct townhouse construction site has to go, she said.
“I think something can really be done there,” she said.
Hardesty said she came to the first Georgetown meeting in September. The city’s outreach has been very good, giving citizens a way to take control of their own city and surroundings, she said.
Around Dunwoody Village, public opinion seems to emphasize a park in the shopping center, according to consultant Eric Bosman.
“The open space wants to be as big as we can get it and it wants to be visible but not exposed,” he said.
People should be able to see the green space from the street, but, since the park is near major roads, it shouldn’t be a park that would allow Frisbees to fly onto Mount Vernon Road.
The most popular concept showed much of the Dunwoody Village shopping center replaced with several mixed-use, commercial or municipal developments that could frame a square around a green space.
However, Bosman said, the municipal development included in the sketch should be considered “potential” at best. The idea of a City Hall or a library is still under evaluation, and is still tentative, he said.
As for the existing post office in Dunwoody Village, both the public and the U.S. Postal Service want a presence there, Bosman said. That could translate to a smaller building on the post office site eventually.
One idea in Dunwoody Village shows improved streetscapes along Chamblee-Dunwoody Road both north and south of Mount Vernon Road.
Bob Barnwell put his Dunwoody dollars on those projects because they “seem doable.”
Indeed, planners say they’re well aware of real estate realities and are proposing projects that could be built.
Now the city and its consultants will tabulate residents’ input. All concept drawings are available online and public comment is still open.
For more information, visit www.dunwoodyga.gov or contact Kimberly Greer, assistant to the city manager, at 678-382-6709.