Residents of Lakeview Oaks subdivision packed the Dunwoody City Council’s meeting May 9 hoping to convince council members that building baseball fields in Brook Run Park is a mistake.
During the meeting’s public comment portion, the homeowners expressed their anger that the plan calls for removing trees at Brook Run Park to make way for three baseball fields.
“For a city that’s trying to be a green city, this does not set a good example,” said Lakeview Oaks resident Gerri Penn.
Diane Contino said while she supports building more baseball fields, Brook Run is not the place to do it.
“To put these baseball fields in Brook Run, acres of beautiful hardwood oaks would be destroyed,” she said. “Let’s find an area where we don’t have to destroy to create.”
One resident came to the meeting to voice his support for the plan to build baseball fields at Brook Run. Rick Callihan said many of his friends and neighbors take their children to play baseball in DeKalb County and Sandy Springs because Dunwoody does not have adequate facilities.
“I encourage you to keep moving forward with the parks plan and let the voters decide how they want to spend their money,” Callihan said.
Chuck Ellet told council members that it will be difficult to ask voters to approve millions in funding for the parks plan if they are not all in agreement.
“That’s just going to alienate people you want to vote for these park bond issues,” he said. “We need a united front.”
The comments led into the council’s discussion of the bond referendum for parks and transportation planned for the city’s November election.
The council will put before voters a proposal to finance long-range parks and transportation projects with millions in bond funding. If approved, city taxes would go up by 1.5 mills, which would increase property taxes on a $300,000 house by about $180 per year.
City Councilwoman Adrian Bonser said that after a recent walk through Brook Run Park, she agrees with residents that the parks plan must change.
“To say I was appalled at what I saw was an understatement,” Bonser said. “Trees 80 to 90 years old marked with blue spray paint for destruction. It was a heart-wrenching site.”
Bonser encouraged other council members to walk through Brook Run Park to look at the land survey before making up their minds on the parks plan.
“It would be a scar for this city we could not recover from in this lifetime,” Bonser said.
Councilman Danny Ross called the current proposal a “slash and burn parks plan.”
“I’m going to vote against it and furthermore I’m going to work hard against any bond issue that supports it,” Ross said. “I’m in favor of a bond referendum for parks but only if we have the right parks plan.”
Mayor Ken Wright argued that some council members were ignoring the needs of residents in the northern part of the city.
“There is another side,” Wright said. “We don’t have any green space on the north side.”