There will be music on some summer evenings in Dunwoody this year. The question now is, just how many?
Dunwoody city officials and officers of the Dunwoody Homeowners Association both recently debated whether to put together a series of free concerts in Brook Run Park. But neither group formally committed to going on with the shows.
“There’s a lot of interest in it,” DHA president Stacey Harris said. “We just have to get it right.”
Meanwhile, the Dunwoody Chamber of Commerce plans a series of four summer evening events that will feature musical performances. And the Dunwoody Nature Center will host six outdoor concerts on Saturday nights this spring, summer and fall, executive director Alan Mothner told members of the DHA board.
The chamber events, called “Dunwoody at Dusk,” are intended to lure people to check out city shopping districts, chamber executive director Debbie Fuse said. Events, which will feature shopping and musical performances, are planned for the third Friday of each month, starting in May. A concert will be held at a different place each month, she said.
The idea is to get patrons to try different shopping areas, she said. “People tend to go to one area and that’s where they do everything,” she said.
On Feb. 25, Dunwoody City Council members voted 5-2 to table a proposal to allocate up to $10,000 for the concerts. City officials said the proposal, presented by the DHA, was to schedule concerts from mid-June to mid-September in a portion of Brook Run where the city now occasionally offers summer movies through its “Pic in the Park” series.
Several council members questioned the idea, worried that the concerts might compete with already-planned concerts at the Nature Center, or thought other groups might want the chance to get involved in similar programs.
“I think it’s too early in our young city to venture into parks programming,” Councilman Terry Nall said. “The model has been to allow nonprofits to provide [parks programs]. To me, it’s a ‘needs’ versus ‘wants’ situation. The concert series is a nice ‘want,’ but it’s not a ‘need.’”
Some residents raised questions, too. Cheryl Summers, who lives on Tilly Mill Road outside Brook Run Park, told council members that during the Dunwoody Music Festival last year, she could hear the music in her house with the doors and windows shut.
“All and all, I’m not opposed to the concerts in Brook Run Park, I’m opposed to the noise,” she said. “We need to have a noise ordinance before we have these concerts coming to town. … My neighbors are all going to be harassed by the loud noise coming from these concerts.”
Some council members said the concerts would be good for Dunwoody. Councilman Denis Shortal, who along with Councilman Doug Thompson voted against tabling the measure, argued the events would help build a stronger sense of community.
“Once in a while, you’ve got to go out and have some fun,” Shortal said. “It’s something we need for community spirit.”
After the council vote, consideration of the concerts returned to the DHA. DHA secretary Bill Grossman told board members during the group’s March 3 meeting that the original idea was based on a successful concert series in Smyrna.
The proposal, he said, was to invite food trucks to set up in Brook Run on Thursday evenings and then set up a stage where local musicians could play for the assembled crowd.
“Our thought was if we get something like this started and it grows to be successful, we can always ramp up the entertainment,” he said.
But some DHA board members questioned whether the group should get involved.
“Why is the DHA getting involved in concert promotions? Why is the DHA getting involved with food trucks?” Bob Lundsten asked the group. “I just don’t know what our role is.”
The DHA decided to keep talking about the idea.
“Nobody thought it was a bad idea, but nobody really wants to pay for it,” Grossman said a few days later. “I’m not sure how this is going to play out. We’ll continue talking about it and see if we can work it out.”